WORK has finally started on an underground pipe to prevent the horrendous floods that kept a village under water for almost three months.
Residents in Hambledon are breathing a sigh of relief as contractors start the job, which will involve laying a 1m-wide pipe under the village’s main road.
Hampshire County Council is starting the scheme this week, despite not having the full amount of funding needed to finish the job.
The first task is for contractors to survey the road and the structures beneath the surface.
As reported, the county council has dug into its coffers to come up with £2.2m, while Winchester City Council is providing £100,000.
But the total cost of the scheme is £3.8m – and the rest of the balance needs to be met by the government.
County councillor Sean Woodward, who heads environment in Hampshire, will meet with the secretary of state Owen Paterson on July 14 to ask for the rest of the cash.
He told The News: ‘We very much hope the government will step up to the table with the remainder.
‘But the job needs to be done.
‘We are pressing on at our risk because we don’t want the people of Hambledon to go through what they went through in the future.
‘If we don’t get it done for this winter, we want to get it in the following winter.’
Louise Goble, 36, of East Street, who had to negotiate the floodwater as she travelled to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham to deliver her first child, was pleased to see workmen out and about.
She said: ‘It’s great news if it’s going to stop a repeat of this year and at least go some way to reducing the problem.
‘We were lucky at this end of the village but at the other end it was worse.
‘Insurance is obviously an issue for a lot of houses in the village.
‘They have started doing the surveys. It looks like there’s hope the work might get done it’s really exciting.’
Tony Higham, who leads Hambledon Flood Action Group, said: ‘It’s right and proper that central government should pay. It will impact on Hampshire County Council taxpayers.’
The pipe will be laid in sections to reduce disruption.