RUINED: Scallops owners Gary Payne with kitchen equipment destroyed in the flood ©TheOlivePress

ONE of the Costa Blanca’s longest running expat businesses is still closed after the worst flooding hit the area for 62 years last month.

British-run Scallops, in Javea, lost seven freezers, six fridges and six large cooking appliances during the Easter Sunday deluge.

The restaurant that opened 22 years ago in Arenal, had to be evacuated during supper service as water started ‘rushing in’ leaving the iconic business waist-high in muddy water.

A total of 15 diners had to be helped out of the restaurant at 6pm, as the water reached ankle height.

The company’s 12 employees have been forced to muck in to clean the mud from the floor and remove broken appliances ever since.

“It was shocking as we were serving when the water suddenly flooded in and within 20 minutes it was up to the ankles,” owner Gary Payne, 55, told the Olive Press.

“We couldn’t get back in until the Tuesday, when I found our freezers still floating in the waist-high water.

“Over 75% of our equipment was destroyed.”

OUT OF ACTION: Scallops is Javea’s longest-running British-owned business

Payne, who moved Scallops to the Avinguda de Tamarits site six years ago, said he is still waiting for his insurance company to pay out so they can get things back to normal.

One of the main issues is that all claims have now been sent to the government-run Consorcio de Compensacion de Seguros, which will deal with all claims.

Payne insists he cannot afford to reopen until he has received the payout.

One of his main gripes has been regional authority planning for such an event.

He insisted Javea’s storm drains ‘could not cope’ with such a serious downpour and questioned why underground car parks have been built in new apartments across the road.

Meanwhile closer towards Arenal, a social club due to celebrate its 25th anniversary could now be out of action for ‘six to 12 months’ after water flooded the premises to ‘within a metre’ of the ceiling.

TORNADO: Javea School of Bridge after the Easter Sunday floods

“It was like a tornado had ripped right through it,” Javea School of Bridge and Social Club (JSBSC) president Barbara Sadler, 72, told the Olive Press.

“One of the windows had come out altogether, the coffee table was outside, and somehow the fridge had managed to get itself on top of the bar.”

Sadler regrets that one member of staff has had to be laid off as a result.

She added that temporary premises have been secured at the Inn on the Green, providing a much-needed social space for the club’s 135 regulars.

The clean up also includes hundreds of cars, most of which will have to be written off.

The owner of the block Miguel Muntaner was jailed in 2009 following the notorious ‘Lliber’ construction bribery scandal, in which he bribed the town hall for licences.

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