BUSINESSES in Yarmouth say they have been hit by a devastating double blow, with the worst flooding in 50 years combining with a seven week road closure.
Destination Yarmouth, which promotes the town, said it was working hard to combat the effects of recent bad weather, along with the closure of Bouldnor Road, the main access to the town.
A 'soft audit' of businesses revealed the partial road closure — which preceded the total closure that began on Monday — alone, had seen trading in the town drop by almost half, according to Destination Yarmouth.
Anthea Payne, interim chair of Destination Yarmouth, said: "In the face of this devastating threat, we aim to do everything in our power to keep Yarmouth going."
The organisation, which has been backed in its efforts by MP Andrew Turner, has called on the Isle of Wight Council to consider business rates rebates, free parking and support for the community FYT bus.
It has also worked with Wightlink to promote the town and how to reach it during the road closure. It has worked with the local Costcutter store to establish a delivery service for elderly residents affected by the road closure.
Mrs Payne said: "What we have achieved so far, is just the tip of the iceberg. The message "Yarmouth is Open as Usual" needs to be transmitted loud & clear. We also need to help those people who are stranded and isolated with the lack of bus connections and road access. By working together and helping each other, we can all make a difference."
Mr Turner MP said: "This is a very challenging time for Yarmouth, but I have been impressed by the positive attitude of those involved in Destination Yarmouth, which even included collecting up incorrect diversion signs and taking them back to Island Roads.
"I will be visiting Yarmouth myself over the next seven weeks to do some shopping and use the excellent pubs and restaurants and I hope other Islanders and visitors will make a special effort to do the same. I will do all I can to help with any initiatives to promote the town."
He said he was working with the Isle of Wight Council to see if the length of the road closure could be reduced.
Find a map of how to reach the town during the road closure below: