AFTER weeks of flooding misery it seems Hampshire has started down the long road to recovery.

Flood defences in Romsey and Winchester appear to be holding firm in the face of more heavy rain over the past few days.

As reported by the Daily Echo, the army and navy have been active in both places and a dam built in Romsey by the Royal Engineers is diverting water away from the Georgian Town into floodplains to the west.

The latter has already had positive results after part of Greatbridge Road was reopened, allowing access to Budds Lane and its industrial estate.

The road had been closed for more than a week but a multi-agency summit made the decision that motorists could pass with care, but erected two concrete bollards in the road to keep traffic speed low.

Hampshire Police Acting Chief Inspector James Douglas said: “I am pleased to say that the water levels are much improved on parts of Budds Lane, although we will continue to keep a close eye on this as rain continues to ensure the roads and communities are kept safe.

“Together with our partner agencies, we have done everything we can to re-open part of this important road as swiftly as possible to allow access, and, hopefully, the start of a return to business as usual.”

Although the dam is effective it was still being completed as the Daily Echo went to press last night.

The army, Environment Agency, Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Test Valley Borough Council have all been working on the temporary structure.

Meanwhile giant gravel bags placed in the River Itchen have reduced the flood risk in Winchester.

The idea was thought up by Asad Abbas, a technical advisor to the agency.

Mr Abbas said: “I served in the Pakistan army for 15 years. Pakistan is prone to flooding. We had done everything we could in Winchester and we needed to create some extra capacity. I’m a civil engineer and saw on the map we could create storage upriver.”

River Park Leisure Centre has also reopened after it was closed last week after flooding.

But the Environment Agency is warning residents to stay alert ahead of more rainy weather coming this week.

An agency spokesman said recent rainfall had not had “serious impact” in Hampshire.

He added: “Romsey is the main area where things are still happening and its defences are now up and running.

“But the situation in Hampshire has not changed much overnight and from our perspective the key thing is for people to remain vigilant.”

Flood warnings are still in place in Romsey, Winchester, Kings Somborne, Cheriton and Shawford.

The Royal Mail says it is still unable to deliver post to 15 homes in Hambledon.

A spokesman said: “We have established alternative collection points in the village and will resume a normal service as soon as possible.”