Minister to visit Romsey's flood sites

First published in News

BRITAIN’S climate change minister is heading for Romsey to see for himself the impact the winter floods had on the town.

Greg Barker will be joined on the fact -finding tour by Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes.

During his visit on June 9 the minister will call in at the Environment Agency’s office in Canal Walk and will be looking at areas that were flooded.

Large swathes of the Greatbridge area including the industrial estate were flooded in early February after the River Test burst its banks sending huge volumes of water into homes and businesses.

The Budds Lane area was the worst affected along with the aptly named Romsey World of Water and the main Romsey to Stockbridge road was closed at Greatbridge for several weeks because it was submerged.

The Army and Navy were drafted in to shore up flood defences across the town after the banks of the River Test were breached and they were helped by Environment Agency staff, firefighters and Test Valley Borough Council staff. Thousands of sandbags were used and a special boom was built across the A3075 at Greatbridge to prevent floodwater getting into the town centre.

Just before Christmas homes and some businesses in the Winchester Road, Middlebridge Street, Riverside Gardens and Mainstone were affected by flooding and sewage problems when drains became overwhelmed by the intense and persistent rain that fell in December.

Ms Nokes, who has questioned the ability of Romsey’s aging drainage system to cope with heavy rainfall, said: “I think it is critical the minister has a chance to see how significantly Romsey was impacted from Christmas onwards. We certainly need to have some investment in flood defences around Romsey, including looking at the Causeway which provides the critical access to the pumping station. I think funding is absolutely critical and I want the minister to see how badly the town was affected and listen to what organisations like the Environment Agency thinks needs to be done to prevent a future recurrence.”

A yet to be published report into the flooding was commissioned by Hampshire County Council The climate change minister has praised Hampshire County Council for the way the authority tackled the winter flooding in the county following his visit to Winchester and Hambledon earlier this month.

In a letter to Hampshire’s leader, Roy Perry, Mr Barker said: “Your multi-agency approach to managing floods provided a text book response. These involved taking the practical steps like the cat-flap at Romsey to safeguard vulnerable properties.”

A National Flood Forum information trailer will be stationed outside Test Valley Borough Council’s office in Church Street next Friday (May 30) between 11am and 7pm.

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