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60 residents pack public meeting in Romsey to vent anger over flooding
ANGRY Romsey residents packed a public meeting to demand answers after being repeatedly flooded with sewage when drainage systems failed.
Many have had their homes or cellars filled with sewage as the town's Victorian drainage system failed to cope with recent weather.
Around 60 residents of Winchester Road met at the Plaza Theatre to draw up a list of urgent questions for Southern Water, Test Valley Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and the Environment Agency.
It comes as county council leader Roy Perry, who lives in Romsey, announced at the meeting he had commissioned an independent inquiry into the drainage problems.
Among the concerns raised was the future impact of more than 60 new homes in developments north and south of the road.
Nick Vaughan, a solicitor, of Winchester Road, said: “I think there are two important issues here. Suddenly we are going to have 60-odd more units which can only exacerbate the situation and secondly there does not seem to be an urgency from the local authority to deal with that.”
Others were concerned about getting compensation for goods lost to the floods.
Beverly Smith, of Winchester Road, said: “I used my cellar as a study and now I have lots of ruined content and have been in touch with my insurer. But I'm worried about that because not only will my policy go up if I claim but it would also go against my postcode which would have an impact on other residents' insurance.”
None of the agencies were invited to the meeting.
Cllr Perry said he was taking advantage of recent legislation to order the inquiry, which would be one of the first of its kind in the country.
He said: “We will appoint qualified consultants to investigate and the results will be put in the public domain so all of the agencies will have to address the resulting issues.”
Cllr Perry added the inquiry would start “as soon as possible” but could not put a timeframe on how long it would take.
Caroline Nokes, Romsey MP, was also present at the meeting and confirmed she was meeting Southern Water and the Environment Agency to discuss the problems on Friday.
Mrs Nokes, who raised the issue in Parliament last week, said: “I think it's really key to get to the bottom of what caused all of the separate incidents in the town and whether they were related or not.”
The residents formed a sub-committee to draft letters to each agency with a list of concerns on the sewage system, street cleaning, compensation and the impact of both new developments.
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