Multi-million pound work to solve Hambledon floods is approved

PROBLEMS Flooding in Hambledon back in March ''                                                              Picture: Malcolm Wells (14576-3586)
PROBLEMS Flooding in Hambledon back in March '' Picture: Malcolm Wells (14576-3586)

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A £3.89m scheme to solve Hambledon’s flooding woes has been approved – but the village will still have to endure two winters without adequate protection.

Leaders at Hampshire County Council gave the go-ahead to a scheme that will drastically improve the drainage of groundwater through the village.

While the project has been welcomed, residents know they will still have to face two flooding seasons at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Only last week, 1.7inches of rain fell in 20 minutes – resulting in a flash flood and two properties being inundated.

Tony Higham, chairman of Hambledon Flood Action Group, said: ‘Work on one of the most complicated engineering schemes in Hampshire will start in January 2015 and complete some time in 2016.

‘So that leaves two flooding seasons to negotiate without a pipe. Hopefully all will be ready for the winter of 2016/17.’

He said the recent monsoon demonstrated to everyone how vital the drainage improvements are needed in Hambledon.

‘The road once again reverted to a river,’ he said.

‘Many others had a very close shave as water again lapped at their front doors.

‘The sudden nature of this event was deeply alarming to villagers and the power of the water was frightening for mothers and children who had just left school.

‘Had a one-meter wide pipe been in place, much of this water would have flowed underground.’

The scheme will be completed in two stages.

The first phase will improve the network of drainage ditches to the south of Lotts Store by installing larger pipes beneath property accesses.

Work is set to begin at the end of August and will take three months.

The second phase will seek to reduce flooding in East Street, West Street, and parts of Green Lane by installing culverts and resurfacing the road.

Hampshire County Council is paying for two thirds of the scheme and it is hoped the government will approve the remainder of the cost next year.

Councillor Sean Woodward, who heads environment in Hampshire, said: ‘It is clear that Hambledon is an area in need of some intervention.

‘I hope the government will play its part now and allow the full scheme to go ahead.’