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Hampshire firms counting cost of wettest April on record
HAMPSHIRE businesses are counting the cost of the wettest April on record.
Attractions and garden centres lost between a third and half of all their trade as tourists, shoppers and gardeners stayed dry indoors.
The relentless downpours are thought to have cost the local economy tens of thousands of pounds.
It comes as the Met Office forecasts wet weather for May and the Environment Agency warns of flash flooding.
Hilliers Garden Centres, which has outlets across Hampshire, said trade was down 50 per cent as the weather was too bad for even the hardiest of gardeners.
Operations manager Mark Pittman said: “We have had some pretty extreme weather and that put people off going into their gardens or driving out to us.”
Julian Winfield, chief executive of Haskins Garden Centres, said: “April was a washout for horticultural product sales. We have gone from having the best April last year to the worst this year.”
Outdoor attractions have also been hit with events cancelled and up to third of visitors staying away.
The Environment Agency has said flooding remains on the cards as Hampshire’s parched ground struggles to absorb rainfall.
Hampshire remains under drought conditions after two of the driest winters on record.
Southern Water, which supplies the majority of the county, has repeatedly said it had no plans to introduce a hosepipe ban in the county this summer.