Emsworth community bands together to stop homes flooding

Villagers in Emsworth putting out sandbags to tackle the potential flooding. Picture: Peter O'Hea
Villagers in Emsworth putting out sandbags to tackle the potential flooding. Picture: Peter O'Hea

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IN AN area plagued by flooding problems, residents have made a determined effort to protect their homes.

People living in Lumley Road, Emsworth, were joined by volunteers who spent the day building flood defences with hundreds of sandbags.

Last Christmas Eve, residents were left devastated when the banks of the River Ems broke and their homes flooded.

This winter they are taking no chances and yesterday shifted more than 20 tons of sand by hand.

Lumley Road homeowner Mark Ringwood said: ‘More than 20 residents banded together and built the first part of a flood defence which we hope will save our properties.

‘Young and old turned out to build a wall containing more than 1,200 20kg sandbags.

‘We were aided and abetted by volunteers from the Environment Agency, and consultants Opus International, and fortified by a plentiful supply of home-cooked food.

‘It was a remarkable community achievement.

‘The wall will eventually link with an earth wall in Brook Meadow, and a wall to be constructed in front of properties running north from Rose Cottage in front of the three rows of terraces, to effectively create an island and counter the flood threat from the River Ems and high tides.

‘Twenty properties in the road were flooded on Christmas Eve last year.’

There are plans in place to try to prevent flooding in the town for good.

The first scheme is to alleviate flooding in Selangor Avenue and Nore Farm Stream. This work is being funded by the Environment Agency.

A temporary measure has been put in and the main work will be carried out in the spring.

The second has been put forward by the developer Bidwells.

It wants to build 125 homes west of Horndean Road. As part of that, it must install a flood alleviation scheme to protect Bridge Road, which is vulnerable to flooding.

The scheme still needs to be approved by Havant Borough Council.

And Chris Clode, chairman of Emsworth Flood Action Group, confirmed that, following the first stage of flood defences being put in on Saturday, there are more to come for the Lumley Road area.

He said: ‘We hope that once all the schemes are completed it will go a long way to alleviating the flooding problems that we have suffered for the past few years.’