IT’S been a long time coming, but the workmen have finally arrived to build the huge water pipe that should end a village’s flooding woes.
The sound of diggers and temporary traffic lights in Hambledon yesterday marked the start of 15 months of work to build the underground pipe.
The pipe, about a metre in diameter and a mile long, will collect groundwater from the chalk hills and will drastically reduce the chances of a repeat of last year’s major flood.
There will be road closures for through traffic along the B2150 from June 22, with a diversion route around the village via Green Lane and Brook Lane.
Parts of West Street and East Street will be closed in sections while the pipe is built, but there will be access for residents and businesses will also remain open.
But there were mixed views yesterday as the £4.3m scheme began.
Martin Clark, who runs Lotts General Store in West Street, said: ‘It’s going to be a good project, but for immediate and current situations, I don’t think it’s going to be particularly brilliant.
‘It will cause massive disruption for many people, I am sure, throughout the village.
‘We have already had people coming to us asking what the plans are and how it’s going to affect them.
‘We are doing our best to pass on the information we have.
‘It’s going to be a tough one. At the moment the contractors are doing their best to alleviate any concerns and worries we have, saying they are going to keep it to a minimum.
‘But I’m sure once the road outside our shop is closed, that’s when it’s going to affect us from a business point of view.’
Geoffrey Hartridge, of West Street, said: ‘It’s very welcome.
‘I think the disadvantages of the disruption are far outweighed by the advantages of having this pipe at long last.
‘It’s better to have the disruption without water, than the disruption with water.
‘There’s going to be a bit of pain, but I don’t think horrific.’
Mildren Construction has been appointed by Hampshire County Council to carry out the work.