The state of Test Valley's roads and drainage have been slammed by a councillor after torrential rain caused serious flooding. 

Storm Henk swept through the region, with many roads underwater and rivers at very high levels. 

Cllr Sally Yalden is the Liberal Democrat ward councillor for Ampfield and Braishfield. 

She said: “Many people have been affected by the recent severe rainfall event which resulted in a lot of localised flooding. Some might say flooding was due to a one-off extreme weather event, but our roads have been plagued by recurring localised floods in recent years. It feels worse than ever before, coupled with the pothole pandemic on our roads.

“Most of this flooding is not so much rivers being overwhelmed and flooding, but is more regularly localised flooding around low spots on roads. This is a significant hazard to road users and a nuisance. Furthermore, ponding water causes degradation of the road structure which then needs maintenance itself. I know many of us have learned from bitter experience of having to repair our cars after hitting potholes submerged by this standing water.

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“Most often the reason is the drainage systems are not being maintained by the responsible party, usually the local council or highways authority. Once the waters have cleared, one can usually see the intended drain which has clearly not done its job. The problems are silt traps in gullies are not being cleaned often enough. Pipes, culverts and ditches are then filling with debris and weeds. Drains can’t function properly if they’re not cleared. 

“Budget cuts have resulted in a significant reduction in the maintenance of roads and drainage. In some places maintenance may not be happening at all. I acknowledge local councils are facing challenging times ahead, with budget constraints due to cuts in funding from central government and inflation. What adds insult to injury is the mishandling of public funds by the current Government. It’s simply not good enough to repeatedly claim there’s a lack of funds when billions of pounds have been recklessly squandered."

Cllr Nick Adams-King, county councillor for universal services, said: “Having experienced the challenges of last winter, HCC Highways carried out significant work to prepare the road network as much as possible for wet weather this winter, clearing grips, culverts and identifying ditches needing work. This was funded through the additional investment of £22.5million for highway repairs agreed by the council earlier this year. 

“Last week’s storms dumped 35mm of rain on the Romsey area in just a few hours on Thursday, an exceptional amount, coming after five consecutive months of higher than average rainfall. With a few notable exceptions the road network coped remarkably well. I’m very grateful to everyone for their patience and perseverance, and particularly to all those who reported issues with drainage, fallen trees, potholes and flooding through the week.”