OVERNIGHT tankering in flood-hit Buckskin is set to stop because groundwater levels have improved.

And the drop-in centre at the Ridgeway Centre, where borough council staff have been offering support to residents affected by the flooding, including the 87 evacuated from their homes, will close from today.

The announcements were made at a drop-in session with the chief executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Tony Curtis, at the Ridgeway Centre last night.

Groundwater levels have improved in the area after a spell of “dry conditions” last week.

Seventy million litres of water have been pumped out by tankers which have been transporting sewage water to the Chineham sewage treatment works, making 434 trips so far.

Thames Water has been helping with the start of a clean-up operation and a team has been on site this week, jetting footpaths and parking areas with disinfectant.

Mr Curtis told the packed room of residents at the Ridgeway Centre, in Blackdown Close: “Generally flooding across the borough is better but there are still some areas of standing water. Our focus is to look forward and continue to improve the situation and as soon as we can we will get the environment cleaned up and people in their houses.”

Mr Curtis also announced at the meeting that there is no need to proceed with 2.1km of piping to move water from Buckskin into the nearby River Loddon, and said the borough council will only be tankering water between the hours of 6am and 6pm.

He added: “We committed at the very start of this crisis to do everything we could to help and we have been using tankers for over four weeks, 24/7.

“We want to reduce the level of tankering because that will help us to see what work is being done. If the situation worsens, we have tankers on standby so we can step up operations again.”

Although residents will no longer be able to seek advice from council staff at the Ridgeway Centre, they have been reassured that if they have any urgent queries, they can still call the borough council, 24 hours a day on 01256 844844.

Mr Curtis said: “We don’t need officers here at the centre and they need to be doing other things at the council.”