Councillor calls for halt to Abbotswood construction until flooding issue is resolved

BUILDING on the 850-home Abbotswood village must stop until serious surface water run-off problems at the site are resolved.

That’s the view of Romsey Extra ward borough councillor Ian Hibberd after homes in the Cupernham area of Romsey were hit by another torrent of water escaping from the development on Christmas Eve.

This has happened several times within the last couple of years - notably Christmas week 2012.

Councillor Hibberd said: “Clearly there is a design problem here, where the amount of surface water run-off from the Abbotswood development has been grossly underestimated, or the ‘drainage system’ has not been properly installed.

“Either way, this situation is totally unacceptable and I shall be doing all I can to help the residents who are affected.”

Mr Hibberd was due to approach Test Valley’s chief executive Roger Tetstall yesterday (Thursday) about the problems and to ask him to “refuse any further planning applications on the Abbotswood” site until the situation is resolved. Although the Abbotswod consortium have outline planning permision for the whole site they have to obtain detailed planning permission for phase of the development.

“It is clearly the developers who have the responsibility to cure this problem permanently regardless of the cost,” concluded Mr Hibberd.

Hampshire’s leader Roy Perry is also battling to prevent further run-off at Abbotswood.

Mr Perry, whose county division covers the area, said: “I have been extremely concerned to hear again of the problems experience in Cupernham. Immediately I was contacted by local residents I contacted Test Valley Borough Council to ascertain what precisely was done to remedy problems following last year’s flooding in the area. I know that the Environment Agency was looking into it.”

“As a layman, it seems to me that either the flood attenuation measures were inadequately designed or not implemented properly and I will expect and expert assessment to be undertaken.”

He said the that the county council had an “overarching responsibility” for addressing flooding issues and he’s asked the authority’s director of the environment Stuart Jarvis to investigate. Lesley and Ian Wilson were away when floodwater hit their property in Cupernham Lane on Christmas Eve. When they returned after Christmas they discovered water had got inside their garage and ruined a freezer.

It’s the second December in succession that the Wilsons have suffered flooding.

“It is worse this time because the water has gone in the garage,” said Mrs Wilson.

“It was about seven inches deep. We’ve had to buy a new freezer.

“This is a manmade flood and should not have happened. There wasn’t a problem until Abbotswood was built two years ago.”

Mrs Wilson believes that the balancing ponds on the Abbotswood development are not large enough to cope with amount of water on the site.

She believes Test Valley Borough and Hampshire County Councils should co-operate to sort out the problem. John Marr, who lives near the Wilsons, has also demanded urgent action.

“We had to put up barricades to stop the water coming into our garden. There was a torrent of water coming down Cupernham Lane from Abbotswood threatening our garden. The Abbotswood developers have got to do something about this, because it keeps happening,” said Mr Marr.

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