Flooding misery for Hambledon villagers

East Street and most of West Street in Hambledon were closed to traffic today due to flooding''''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-7761)
East Street and most of West Street in Hambledon were closed to traffic today due to flooding''''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-7761)
Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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A VILLAGE is clearing up the mess after it was inundated with sewage and flood water.

Hambledon suffered badly after heavy rain fell on already saturated ground yesterday and turned many of the village’s roads into rivers.

This, coupled with the failing of a pumping station, led to sewage coming out of manholes in the village centre.

Around 100 villagers battled the elements on Saturday night to protect their homes from the flood water, the worst seen since 2001.

Hampshire County Council stepped in early Sunday morning and provided the villagers with extra sandbags and it put on staff to work through Sunday to clean up.

Executive member for the environment Cllr Sean Woodward visited the village on Saturday.

He said: ‘The sewage pumping station failed and backed up through the village. The water was running through the village, mixed with raw sewage. We have just got to wait until to subsides. It really is pretty awful. I have brought this matter up with the Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street. We had put a bid in for flood mitigation works for Hambledon and this shows exactly why we need it.

‘It is absolutely appalling and I feel for the community, which has shown the most amazing community spirit.

‘I will continue to press Parliament to get the funds for these flood mitigation measures for Hambledon.’

MP George Hollingbery also visited the village to assess the damage.

Mr Hollingbery said: ‘Water was coming up through the ground and almost within an hour the high street began to flood. There was an army of people out protecting the properties with sandbags. The whole community was really coming together, there were hundreds of people out helping each other.’

Hambledon Flood Action Group (FAG) advised villagers to keeps their eyes on the pumps, even throughout the night, to make sure they are working properly. It also advised people to keep their children away from the water, as raw sewage was coming out of manholes in Upper West Street.

The group spent today based in the village hall.

Chairman Tony Higham said: ‘The sewage situation has worsened. Please do not let children play in the water.

‘Water is now moving fast and powerfully in places. The elderly and infirm should not go out where the water is deep.

‘Please keep checking on neighbours and let FAG know of any issues.’

Officials at Southern Water said the pumping station had not failed and was not malfunctioning.

A spokeswoman said: ‘It did not fail – it is working as it should.

‘We have added extra capacity so it can pump away more of the water.

‘The flood has not been caused by the pumping station. The pumping station and sewers have been inundated with groundwater.’