Trade levels in Birmingham's Balti Triangle have still not returned to normal almost a year after the tornado which devastated the area, it was claimed yesterday.
As residents prepare to mark the first anniversary of the twister today, a handful of businesses in the Sparkbrook area have still not reopened, the city's Asian Balti Restaurant Association revealed.
Tabriz Hussain, ABRA's development officer, said that, while most of the physical scars in the area had healed, many businesses were still experiencing a downturn in trade.
"It is slowly picking up and we hope for better times, although I wouldn't say it is back to what it was," Mr Hussain said.
"But businesses are coping well and a lot of them saw what happened as an opportunity - many have expanded or undergone refurbishment."
Praising Birmingham City Council for its efforts to regenerate and promote the area following the havoc wrought by the 135mph winds on the afternoon of July 28 last year, Mr Hussain added: "A lot of people say that not much has been done, but I have been to the meetings and events and a lot has been done to get people back into the area."
Problems with insurance had hampered one chip shop's battle to reopen and it, along with a pub in the area, still remains closed.
Mr Hussain believes that trade will eventually return to pre-tornado levels, but stressed that it will take time.
"If you visited the area now the only thing you might notice would be the amount of new tiles," the 23-year-old said.
"There are a lot of new roofs around, but there are no real signs that a tornado hit the area - things are now looking good and looking up."
The tornado hit parts of Kings Heath, Moseley, Sparkbrook, High-gate and Sparkhill, causing extensive damage to buildings, gardens and vehicles.
The damage was at its worst in the Ladypool Road area, which has a high concentration of Asian restaurants and textile shops.
A total of 19 people are known to have been injured.