The boss of a charity whose buildings were damaged by flooding has claimed a lack of answers about the cause has further “muddied the waters”.

Dace Road in Fish Island was left under three feet of water after the nearby River Lee Navigation canal burst its banks during Storm Henk on January 4.

Two of the worst impacted buildings belong to Space Studios, a charity that provides affordable studios to artists as well as floorspace for London Centre for Book Arts.

Chief executive Eline van der Vlist has now said that almost a month on, questions still remain about how the flooding was able to happen.

She said: “The cause at the moment is just hearsay. We haven’t yet been able to have a meeting with the Canal and River Trust.

“What we’d like to talk to them about is what happened and what they are doing to prevent it happening again.”

Hackney Gazette: Flooding hit parts of Fish Island yesterday evening (January 4)

Although structurally Space Studios’ two affected buildings – Britannia Works and Bridget Riley Studios – appear to be relatively unscathed, individual artists will still need to make claims for damaged items.

Ms van der Vlist said that having an answer about the cause of the flooding will make it easier for their insurers to know how to settle their claims.

She added that the charity has worked hard in the weeks following the flood, which she described as “Armageddon”, to help affected artists.

Space Studios immediately called out an electrician and a lift engineer in the days after the storm, as well as cleaning and disinfecting studios.

Ms van der Vlist said: “What was really nice to see is that when it happened, everyone came together as a community and cleaned up.”

Many of the artists at Britannia Works and Bridget Riley Studios have now returned to work, and the London Centre for Book Arts, which Hackney Gazette visited in the immediate aftermath of the flood, has re-opened.

The charity is now considering how to install flood barriers to ensure similar damage cannot happen again.

Hackney Gazette: Flooding hit Fish Island yesterday evening (January 4) after a canal burst its banks

Ms van der Vlist said: “It’s a very rare event, so the chances of it happening again are hopefully small but I don’t want to take that risk.

“We’ve been looking into things we can do and believe we have found solutions.

She added: “We are sensible that we keep small maintenance pots, but let’s face it, when we say we can bear the costs at the end of the day, that’s borne by the community of our artists.

“We would like to have it paid for by government.”

The Department for Levelling Up announced a Storm Henk flood recovery framework on January 6, with grant schemes available for councils to make payments to affected businesses and residents.

The scheme is administered by councils, who are responsible for communicating eligibility criteria and how to apply.  

A Tower Hamlets spokesperson said: “Council officers were on scene to assist at the time of the incident and are now speaking directly with the businesses affected.

“Moving forwards, we are working closely with representatives from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to help businesses to access financial support from the Government’s Flood Recovery Framework.”

Tower Hamlets Council is responsible for taking the lead on Fish Island flood risk management as the 'lead local flood authority'.

A spokesperson for Canal & River Trust said: "This was an extreme rainfall event, and the network could not cope with the level of inflow we experienced in such a short space of time.

“Our charity assisted the emergency services on site through the night and took what action we could to limit overtopping and to assist the emergency services."