A BUSINESSMAN fears his seafront amusement arcade could be flooded again – a year after it suffered £200,000 damage.

Martin Richardson’s Happidrome was closed for eight months after heavy rain caused drains to overflow, flooding the arcade, in Marine Parade, Southend, with sewage.

He fears it could happen all over again because the seafront’s £7.6million City Beach revamp only allowed for one drain to protect the arcade.

The flooding was so bad last year Mr Richardson considered closing the arcade for good.

He decided to stay on and invested £80,000 over and above his insurance pay-out, bringing the arcade up to scratch – only to face the prospect of the same thing happening again because of potentially inadequate drainage.

He said: “The drain is the only drain in the side street and the natural downhill force means the side street’s water all goes into this drain.

“Last August, this drain got blocked by a large, black plastic bin liner. The water flowed right over it and flooded the seafront.

“Before City Beach, the kerbs channelled water away from the paved areas, along the side of the road and down a main storm drain.

“This man-made channel has been removed and no adequate provision has been put in its place”.

The drain was blocked again during heavy rain last month and a nervous Mr Richardson now finds himself checking for flooding every time it rains , using security cameras linked to his home. The businessman says he is paying so much in insurance premiums he is considering legal action to recoup some of the money.

He added: “The massive increase in my insurance premium and little or no help, thanks to the lack of commitment to provide a duty of care from Southend Council.

“I’m engaging specialist engineers and solicitors to investigate the building design of this front in and around my business.”