A Caversham business owner said he is ‘devastated’ after his restaurant was hit by severe flooding last week in the wake of Storm Henk.

Located in Caversham, River Spice is a popular Tandoori restaurant with beautiful views over the River Thames.

Despite the restaurant surviving previous major flooding alerts across the area, the owner turned up on Sunday, January 7 to find major flooding to the interior of the building.

Mohammed Mustak, who opened the Indian restaurant in 2010 has been forced to close the premises for the foreseeable future.

He said: “We turned up on Sunday (7/1) morning and found the restaurant filled with water that must have come in from the Thames.

“After the struggle of COVID, we were just getting back on our feet and now we have to deal with another closure.

“It’s a horrible situation which a lot of people are going through. We’re completely gutted.”

Alongside the furnishing within the restaurant, the kitchen, and some electronics have been destroyed by the flooding.

Although the flood warning was released by the MET Office for Reading, local residents including Mohammed have hit out about the lack of help they received from the council.

Mohammed explained: “The council has done nothing either before the flooding or during it from what we have seen.

“In other years they turned up to provide support and hand out sandbags but there has been nothing this year.”

Reading Borough Council explained that their teams have been out on the ground providing support, advice, and practical help to residents, beginning last Thursday (Jan 4) when it became apparent levels at the Holy Brook were rising to an extent where property flooding was possible. Support has also been offered for those impacted by the Thames rising in Reading to it's highest level since monitoring began.

A spokesperson for the council added: "Emergency response teams working 24/7 and in challenging circumstances by providing support including:

  • Sandbags deployed at Circuit Lane, Napier Rd, Queens Road, Scours Lane, Sylvan Walk, Crane Wharf, Hartford Rd, Tallis Lane, Elizabeth House, Island Rd, Cowper Way, Riverside Ct, and Queens Road
  • Welfare visits to vulnerable residents in areas at risk of flooding, including at Riverside Park, Scours Lane, where essential supplies were provided to residents
  • Facilitating emergency road closures, such as at Scours Lane and Napier Road
  • The opening of an Emergency Operations Centre at the Civic Offices to co-ordinate the local response
  • Regular multi-agency planning meetings with emergency responders, including Thames Valley Police and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service

 “We would always advise residents to keep up to date with Environment Agency warnings ahead of any localised flooding and take action to ensure property and belongings are protected as far as is possible in a major flood event like this one."

Reading Borough Council said it would be following up on welfare checks for those impacted as river levels start to fall in Reading.