Romsey’s MP Caroline Nokes has de-manded better flood defences in the town after a drains and sewers repeatedly overflowed into homes, roads and gardens as storm after storm battered the area over Christmas and the New Year.
Ms Nokes – who met Southern Water and the Environment Agency officials on Christmas Eve immediately after Sadlers Mill the pumping station failed – said: “Many homes were flooded with raw sewage – a horrid experience at any time of the year, but one which is very hard to take so close to Christmas.
“I have long been concerned about flooding in Romsey, which according to the Environment Agency’s flood management plan, is the most vulnerable town in the area, and liable to flood at any time.
“Although some flood prevention work was done, we now need to rapidly reassess all flood management plans for Romsey.”
Roads around Romsey and Stockbridge were again badly flooded on New Year’s Day after more than an inch of rain fell in less than 24 hours.
Routes affected included Winchester Road, which had also been submerged on Christmas Eve.
Other roads left impassable were Kimbridge Lane, near Mottisfont, Highwood Lane and Luzborough Lane in Romsey, the A36 between Brickworth Corner at Whiteparish and the Ower roundabout, the A3090 between Ower and Romsey, the A27 between Romsey and Whiteparish, stretches of the A3057 between Ashfield and Southampton, the A3057 between Romsey and Stockbridge, the A336 at Cadnam and the B3084 at Mottisfont.
Train services between Romsey and Redbridge were suspended yesterday (Thursday) because of flooding on the track.
Trains heading to and from Southampton were diverted via Chandler’s Ford. This led to cancellations and long delays to services between Southampton, Romsey and Salisbury.
This was the latest wave of misery to hit the area this wild and wet Christmas.
After pumping stations failed on Christmas Eve, raw sewage backed up in toilets in some homes. At the Three Tuns in Middlebridge Street flooding forced landlords to close the pub.
Landlord Ian Longhorn said: “We had water in parts of the cellar but luckily not where the beer is kept. We are the lowest point in Middlebridge Street and our toilets backed up to the brim but didn’t come over. Water also came up through the floor in the toilet and it was also ankle deep in the laundry room. Christmas Eve is potentially our busiest day of year but we couldn’t open so e lost a substantial amount of trade. We had planned to open from noon until 2pm on Christmas Day but there was too much cleaning up to do. It was a real shame but we didn’t suffer as much as people living in the terraced houses along the Causeway. They had water up to their window sills.”
Mr Longhorn said staff worked hard using buckets to bail out floodwater and he managed to get hold of three pumps to reduce water levels.
But the worst hit area was along Causeway where a number of low- lying properties were inundated with water on the ground floors.
The Cromwell Arms at Mainstone was badly affected too.
Cromwell Arms boss Annaliese Branston said: “On Christmas Eve morning there was about 3ft of water in the kitchen. We had to close the restaurant and could only serve drinks. We had people staying at the hotel over Christmas but had no kitchen to cook their breakfast. Thankfully, we were able to use the staff cooker upstairs and served up salmon and scrambled eggs on Christmas Eve. We still couldn’t open on Boxing Day because the kitchen was out of action. We had five chefs cleaning up the kitchen instead. Luckily all the appliances are high off the ground so they were not damaged by the water.”
Annaliese added: “This has cost us thousands of pounds. Besides food that had to be thrown away, we had to pay a professional company in to clean up all the mess in the kitchen.”
Five homes at Riverside Gardens were also affected by floodwater and some gardens at properties along Winchester Road between the Plaza Roundabout and Botley Road were under water.
Romsey resident Bryn Bridges told the Advertiser: “The pumping station in St Barbe Close was out of action over three days from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.
During the whole of this time “black waste” (domestic waste plus sewage) was being pumped from a manhole into the street and into adjacent properties.
“One local resident parked his car on top of the manhole in an unsuccessful attempt to stem the flow.”
A Southern Water spokesperson said: “The network in Romsey was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of water entering it, and was not able to pump flows away fast enough. There were also problems caused by power failures.
“Regrettably, this meant there was flooding to some properties and gardens as the network became overloaded.
“We understand how distressing this must have been for customers, especially given the time of year, and we have every sympathy for those who were affected.
“We believe our sites were working at full capacity, but were simply overwhelmed. However, we will be carrying out an investigation.
“Our contractors have visited those affected to help with the clean-up.”