Although Sam Smith’s were badly affected by the Christmas flooding in the brewing town of Tadcaster, it seems that they have now become as much a part of the problem as the solution. A multi agency group of local people, local and national government and elected representatives are working hard to restore some normality to the town whose 7,000 (appx.) inhabitants became divided when the river Wharfe flooded and partially demolished the road bridge in the centre of the town. Apparently £300,000 has been made available by central government to pay for an already sourced temporary footpath to restore unity to the town, on a prime location reasonably adjacent to the damaged bridge.
Well, it seems they had it all sorted until Humphrey Smith, owner of Sam Smith’s brewery, stepped in and refused permission for the bridge to be placed on brewery land, saying that it’s a waste of public money. You’d think this would be all a little strange with brewery HQ and several Sam’s pubs being situated in the town and on the wrong side of the bridge to the larger part of the populace. Even more so considering that Mr Humphrey Smith is one of the major property and land owners in Tadcaster, where many of the small businesses are his tenants. As soon as the bridge collapsed I saw on social media locally that many were calling for Humphrey to be philanthropic and come to the town’s aid. I would have told these folk not to waste their breath, however, I could never have envisaged that he could be shortsighted enough to deny the town, his town, this lifeline.
If you want to gauge the extent of feeling locally, I suggest you have a look on Sam Smiths independent forum and see what people are saying, along with some of the bricolage I collected to compile this article.
To quote The Guardian, ‘compared with more majestic small Yorkshire towns, Tad can feel a bit drab’. Having lived around here for some time, I can say that indeed it does, despite having great potential, and it seems that Mr Smith is determined to hold it back further. If he prevaricates much longer then he will start to see small businesses close and it will look even drabber, a bit like his pubs I suppose. Although Sam’s seem to have sorted their OBB supply out, which is commendable, and I have heard tales of brewery workers doing sixteen hour shifts in an effort to get the effects of the flooding sorted. It remains to be seen whether common sense will prevail at brewery HQ.