LiveFight to save Hampshire town from the floods

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  • Hundreds of homes at new risk of flooding
  • 300 Royal Engineers join operation
  • Navy from HMS Illustrious and HMS Collingwood involved
  • River Test threatening to flood Romsey
  • More rain on the way


Mr O'Neill added the measures being put in place, including the Fishlake Stream dam, would mean water levels would remain stable and negate tidal movements having an effect on when flooding would be more likely.

He said: "Phase two is to get these restrictions in at a Fishlake stream to slow the flow. It's a multi agency operation with Hampshire Fire & Rescue, Test Valley Borough Council, the Army and the Environment Agency.

The aim is to gain control of the water and push it to an area where it is not going to increase flood risks.

"Levels are holding steady at the moment and it's not like a tide where you have peak times over 12 hours."


He said: "We are still in incident management mode at the moment but once the levels start to recede we will go into long term planning.

"We have a team of engineers looking at what we can do to reduce the current flooding and what we are hoping is if the operation works we can continue to monitor the situation."


Mike O'Neill of the Environment Agency said today's work in Romsey was the second part of a two-phase operation.

But he said there were no long term solutions currently being worked on as the agency was still responding to the immediate threats.



Neil Renshaw, of Middlebridge Street, Romsey, said flooding was a worry across the town because so many houses are close to the river or streams.

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He said: "We have a stream by our house but it's probably three feet short of overflowing yet. I am counting how many bricks higher it is every day though."
Mr Renshaw, retired, added: "We don't have it as bad as the North side of town but I gather it is getting better over there. We have to remember we could have it a lot worse like in Somerset."


Claire Paflin, assistant manager of the pub, said: "Our kitchen is at a lower level to the rest of a building so it floods as soon as there is a bit of rain.
"We also have quite a lot of excess water out the back so Southern Water is pumping it away and they have been absolutely amazing at helping us."

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On the other side of Romsey residents are also struggling.
The River Test has flooded into homes and also the Cromwell Arms pub in Mainstone.
Water is currently being pumped away from the pub and along the road past the heavily sandbagged houses by Southern Water.
The pub car park was 75 per cent flooded as recently as yesterday according to staff while it is understood takings have dropped by half.


And finally the fifth picture

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And a fourth

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Here they are

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The army has sent us soem good photographs showing the work they are doing trying to divert the flow of the Test.


Rivermeads resident Nick Chivers is one of the locals who took it upon themselves to reduce the flooding in the roads.

Nick, 35, helped knock holes in the wall between The Meads and Romsey War Memorial Park to create a makeshift floodplain and drain out water.

He said: "One of my neighbours started it on Friday night and I went out on Saturday morning to make the holes wider.

"It was a bit of an improvised floodplain but it seems to have worked. We were concerned because the water was coming dangerously close to our air bricks, millimetres away."

Nick, a company director, was also full of praise for the job the military did.

He added: "We were out on Sunday but it was staggering to see what they had done and the amount of people who had done this. It's just an amazing overhaul and a fantastic job by the army and navy."


The navy on more sandbag duties

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Navy staff check on the pipes pumping out the water.

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The Royal Navy lay sandbags at Rivermead, Winchester.


Staff Sgt Steve Bennett of the Royal Engineers has been overseeing the navy in the sandbagging operation at The Meads today.
He said: "We are restricting the flow of the river here and we can see the effects just by walking around.

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"Hampshire Fire and Rescue are here helping us as well and I think we have two to three hours of work left, but anything else we can do to help within our remit we will do."
The navy arrived at around 11am and should finish their operation within the next hour.
Staff Sgt Bennett added: "These guys from the navy are real heroes. They are the ones who have been doing all the work and they deserve the credit."


A BUS has collided with a sports car in George's Street in Winchester.
The Mercedes SLK Kompressor sustained a smashed window and door on the driver's side, and has been moved from the right lane of the road to Parchment Street.
Witness David Smart, 49, of Hyde Gate, said: "I heard the bus toot it's horn as it went towards the car."
There are no reported injuries.

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Major Nick Francis, commanding officer of the Royal Engineers operation at the River Test near Greatbridge Road, Romsey.


Another video of Fishlake Stream off the River Test.


Clever residents helped stem the tide of flooding in The Meads by making holes in a wall next to Romsey War Memorial Park.

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The road was flooded yesterday but the holes have drained it completely and allowed traffic to return to normal.


Clever residents helped stem the tide of flooding in The Meads by making holes in a wall next to Romsey War Memorial Park.

The road was flooded yesterday but the holes have drained it completely and allowed traffic to return to normal.


John Cooke, 78, of Church Lane, Romsey, said the military had done a good job in the town.
He said: "I stayed in my house the whole time but I could see a load of soldiers going back and forth in Church Lane.
"I'm grateful to the guys who have helped us out but it's too late. It's not the soldiers' fault, but the Government should have acted in December."


Fishlake Stream off the River Test.




River flowing in the Meads, Romsey.



The picture below has just come in and shows just how precarious the situation is in parts of Romsey today.

It shows a wall of sandbags separating the River Test and the homes.

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Motorists have been told to stay clear of Yokesford Hill after that crash. It was between a car and a lorry.


Things might be a bit difficult in Romsey at the moment but you can't fault some people's sense of humour...


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In the town centre residents are still dealing with the aftermath of the weekend weather.
Sandbags have been built up either side of the river in The Meads as well as doors and driveways.

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The military are still on site with 25 troops deploying 2,000 sandbags delivered this morning.
But the action seems to be working with water levels understood to have dropped by an inch.


Yokesford Hill is expected to be closed for a number of hours after the collision and police have warned motorists to expect huge delays.

The road was being used as a diversion for those diverted off of the A3057 due to the flooding along Greatbridge Road and Budds Lane.


Meanwhile, there has been a road closed due to a serious crash in Romsey this morning which will cause major problems around the town.

Daily Echo: Serious accident closes A19 in North Yorkshire


This picture released by Hampshire County Council shows the scale of the operation.

TIt was taken at Micheldevor depot and shows thousands of sandbags that have been filled in by the Royal Navy, which have been made available to help save Romsey from floodwater.

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Signs that the battle against the floods in Winchester may be being won.


Daily Echo: Winchester School of Art last week.

Daily Echo: Winchester School of Art yesterday


While the attention has turned to Romsey it appears the battle in Winchester may be being won - click here for the full story.




Maj Francis added: "I hope we will have it effective by midday but it is a case of wait and see.

"We have had a lot of help from different elements like Hampshire Fire and Rescue who are also on scene for safety reasons.

"We have also relied on local industry to provide us a lorry-load of scaffolding and we hope they continue to support us."


A military truck negotiates flooded roads in Romsey.


Maj Nick Francis, leading the operation for the Royal Engineers, said: "The challenge is we are trying to stem the flow of a fast flowing river in an area that does not have great access for vehicles.
"We have had to design a light weight system that can be placed near to a large amount of water. That is the reason the army has been brought in."


And here's another picture showing the scale of the water they are trying to divert.

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This picture from Echo reporter Joe Curtis shows the size of their task.

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Twenty-five soldiers are currently on the scene and are hopeful the dam will be effective by midday.


But weather forecast is not good - more rain is on the way.

For all the latest up to date weather reports click here


Thousands of sandbags and around two tonnes of scaffolding are being used to build a 'hesco' dam to divert the water into a nearby floodplain, with 300 more sandbags on the way this morning.


This picture shows how close the River Test is to flooding homes at River Mead Close in Romsey.

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Soldiers from the Royal Engineers are on site at Fishlake Stream off the River Test, which is threatening to burst its banks and flood parts of Romsey due to the severe storms battering Hampshire.


A major fight is underway today to stop a hamsphrie town from flooding.


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