A FLOOD protection business set up just two weeks ago is overflowing with enquiries as the region takes another soaking from the torrential rain.
The autumn storms have arrived after the wettest summer for a century, in which hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded.
Watergate Flood Solutions is the brainchild of Gerard Hiscock, who was inspired to set up the business after seeing domestic flood defences in operation when he lived in Spain.
He said: “I noticed all of the houses had very basic protection on their doors to prevent flash flooding, although rudimentary in design they helped to prevent water gaining access to their houses.
“When I returned to the UK in August I started looking about to try and get help to design products similar but suited to British properties.
“Two months down the line and with lots of testing we have come up with a range of affordable products.”
The South Tyneside-based firm, which is also made up of fellow directors Nigel Porter, David Macey and Paul Briggs, is about to take on two fitters.
The products, including door barriers, air brick covers and non-return valves for toilets, are made in Gateshead. Hiscock said the doors, which are made from fibreglass, act like “a modern alternative to sandbags”.
He said: “We are really excited about our future. We have already been in talks with a major house builder, builders' merchants and councillors in flood hit areas.
“There are two types of people - people who try to look ahead and people who are more reactionary.
“We’ve been to one customer in Jarrow and the water is coming from the fields. The land is absolutely saturated – there is little or nothing they can do.
“But if you can do something in the first 10 minutes there is a 90% chance of not getting flooded.”