Crawley estate agents home and dry after flood

jpco 7-5-14 Park & Bailey estate agents re openning after flooding  (Pic by Jon rigby) SUS-140605-105829001
jpco 7-5-14 Park & Bailey estate agents re openning after flooding (Pic by Jon rigby) SUS-140605-105829001

A family-run estate agent will officially open its new office ‘like a phoenix rising from the flame’ after it was flooded four months ago.

Kevin Shaw, 42, director of Park & Bailey, in Three Bridges Road, said Crawley WBO European Super Featherweight Champion boxer Ben Jones, would do the honours at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (May 10).

Mr Shaw, of Gossops Green, said: “We’ve been fighting through the floods and the relocation of the branch trying to keep things ticking along.

“It’s like a phoenix rising from the flame.”

He said boxer Ben Jones’ determination during his career had inspired them.

Mr Shaw said up to £80,000 worth of damage was caused to office equipment, furniture and IT systems after it was flooded by six inches of water on January 24.

The water was up to the kerb when he arrived for work in the rain at 8am.

Sand bags were usedto stop the water coming into the office.

However, the floods eventually entered through the floor boards.

Mr Shaw said: “We were wading through the water to get out.

“We tried to save as much furniture as we could.”

Some £50,000 of office equipment was lost.

Ten of thousands of pounds worth of computers, communication systems and furniture were destroyed.

Speaking of his business, Mr Shaw said: “It means everything.

“I came in 2003, I’ve been in the town for 20 years as an estate agent.”

Mr Shaw works with his wife Julie, 45, daughter Lauren, 18, and nephew Tobiano Mancuso, 25, who goes to the same gym as Jones.

The family worked from the second floor of the building following the flood.

Mr Shaw said: “It stank of rainwater and sewage.

“We just had to manage, it’s my own business.”

He said the business lost up to £10,000 per month as a result of the relocation and because customers assumed it was closed.

The reopening was delayed while he waited for the insurance company to deal with his claim.

Mr Shaw said he had “sleepless nights” for six weeks while he dealt with the paperwork.

He had to project manage the refurbishment of the damaged office as well.

Mr Shaw said: “I didn’t take no for an answer.

“We would have to find new jobs and that’s why I fought for six weeks to get what we got.

“I can go down the road and get a job tomorrow but it was everybody, I felt I had the responsibility of that as well.”

He said the refurbished offices will have a “completely different feel”.

Among the improvements were a lounge area for clients and modern decor.