A CAR dealership which faced severe flooding in the recent storm has hit out at the council after being told a flood defence "was not necessary".

Durnford Motors, on Kilmeston Close in Mansbridge, removed all vehicles offsite due to high levels of flooding coming from River Itchen, which also left neighbouring restaurant The White Swan having to close.

The motor group claimed an agreement - paid for by a £10,000 grant given to them due to flooding in 2014 - to put out a barrier in these circumstances was not followed by Southampton City Council.

Water levels had reached their highest in Mansbridge since 2014, leaving the area in Southampton "significantly impacted".

Director of Durnford Motors, Mohammed Aslam, said: "We bought the flood defence with a grant given to us in 2014. The council never deployed it, which would have stopped the flooding affecting properties.

"For the first time they could have used it, they said we wouldn't need it. We have no choice but to carry on."

Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes, has labelled the incident as a "dereliction of their duty".

She said: "I have seen documentation from SCC which sets out very clearly the circumstances under which the flood barrier should be deployed.

"The forecast for Storm Dennis was well documented. In other parts of my constituency, demountable barriers were deployed with great efficacy. I have asked SCC why they did not undertake their role in deploying the barrier and they have not even responded.

"SCC’s response to the storm warning and flood alerts was woeful. They had a plan in place, they had the equipment, but it seems they just didn’t see the need to protect properties. It is a dereliction of their duty."

A Southampton City Council spokesperson said: “Following the recent storms, we’ve experienced unprecedented levels of rainfall.

"With excessive rain comes the risk of flooding, and when this happens we work closely with the Environment Agency, which has overarching responsibility for managing flood risk for this section of the River Itchen.

They added: “Durnford Motors and The White Swan are located in a well-known flood zone, and it is the proprietors’ responsibility, and in their interest, to implement flood-prevention measures themselves. Nonetheless, the council did help secure a Watergate Flood Barrier in 2014, but this was only ever meant to be a short-term solution.

"The barrier is now out of use due to contamination following its last deployment. Unfortunately, even if the barrier had been used this week, it would not have effectively reduced flood risk, due to the excessive high levels of the River Itchen, and other factors, such as the unpredictable tide levels of the nearby Itchen Estuary, nor would sandbags have held the water back.

“The Environment Agency is unable to provide bespoke assistance during periods of flooding, as it operates and deploys assets to reduce flood risk to multiple people and properties, prioritising risk to life. However, we will continue to work with our partners and local stakeholders to explore viable solutions for this area, and encourage people to continue to react to flood warnings and alerts as they are issued.”