THE flooding misery goes on for residents in the Buckskin area of Basingstoke – but a great community effort is helping to ease the anguish.
Fifty-three households have now been evacuated in Sperrin Close, Antrim Close, Bodmin Close, Exmoor Close, Quantock Close and Prescelly Close after five more residents were rescued from their homes last Friday, some of whom were taken to a makeshift evacuation centre at Hatch Warren Community Centre.
Tankers remain on site 24 hours a day to pump water from the flooded areas and are taking contaminated floodwater to the sewage treatment works in Chineham.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has put up signs and handed out leaflets to people in the area, warning that floodwater is contaminated with sewerage and urging people not to let children or pets play in it.
The borough council is continuing to work with the Environment Agency, military engineers, Scottish and Southern Energy, Hampshire County Council’s highways teams and Hampshire Fire and Rescue.
Hot lunches are being provided at Buckskin Evangelical Church, in Chiltern Way, between 12.30pm and 1.30pm during the half-term holiday for residents who have been evacuated.
The Basingstoke Community Furniture Project has also provided a washing machine and tumble dryer for residents.
Kirsty Campbell was evacuated from the four-bedroom house she shares with husband, Andrew, two-year-old twin daughters, Teagan and Keirah and Andrew’s nine-year-old son, Tylor, in Sperrin Close, on February 8.
On Tuesday, the 23-year-old was at Buckskin Evangelical Church to enjoy a hot meal, and said: “I think it is brilliant. The people here are lovely.”
The family have been told they will stay in a hotel until the end of the month, before the situation is reassessed.
Karen Jones was also at the church with her four children. The family was evacuated from Antrim Close on February 9.
Mrs Jones, a 33-year-old care worker, told The Gazette: “I think it is so helpful. It is nice to have this because it is something for the children to do and run around and enjoy themselves.
“The borough council is extending our stay in the hotel, and when the groundwater goes, Sovereign Housing Association reckon it will be three months before we can return.
“Since this happened, we have met neighbours we never knew we had. The whole community has pulled together really well. Sovereign have been really good and I can’t fault the council.”
The borough council was unable to collect rubbish from many properties this week but has delivered communal bins to the area for residents who have not had their bins collected. These have been placed at the entrance to Blackdown Close and along Grampian Way.