NEARLY 200 homes were at risk of flooding in Romsey after Storm Dennis battered the town over the weekend.

Firefighters from Romsey, Redbridge, St Mary's and Eastleigh came out in force to help the Environment Agency set up temporary barriers in town as heavy rain poured down.

Flood defences were set up Fishlake Meadows and spanned into Greatbridge Road, where part of the road was closed due to the storm.

Now residents have praised the Environmental Agency for pulling together after more than a month's rain fell in the town.

Town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, said: "The Environment Agency did a very good job as they got the flood barriers out just when they were needed.

"Their website on flood alerts was very detailed and it issued lots of information, such as if water levels are going up.

"I have lived in Romsey for 40 years now and I cannot remember seeing the water level that high; there is more water going into the the river higher up the Test, but the Environmental Agency will manage it and the flood barriers will be left there for a while."

He added: "The Environmental Agency put barriers up in 15 places in the country and the Romsey ones were 8,000 metres long - the longest in England.

"I am not aware any homes have been flooded in Romsey and the investment put into the flood alleviation scheme, although it is not completed yet, has been justified by the way it has worked."

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "There was a tremendous amount of water on the roads and it was quite dangerous, but people were being sensible as the roads were not that busy.

"I think the precautions that have been taken since the floods in 2015 have really paid off."

She added: "It is better to be proactive, because you cannot put the barriers up once the flood has happened, so this was a really good action on behalf of the Environment Agency."

Cllr Janet Burnage, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "I feel for the residents that are at risk of flooding, but I would like to extend my appreciation to the Environment Agency, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council and all the other teams who have spent the weekend protecting Romsey from the flooding.

"The weather over the UK in the past two weekends has been exceptional and the work these teams have put in must be acknowledged."

A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said: "Over the weekend 45mm of rain was recorded in Romsey. This is more than half a month’s rain and follows a prolonged wet winter.

"There is extensive flooding affecting fields, land, footpaths and gardens throughout Romsey.

"Due to this river levels have risen and therefore temporary barriers have been deployed along Greatbridge Road and Riverside Gardens to reduce the risk of flooding.

"On Monday, February 17, we also deployed temporary barriers along The Causeway and Mainstone, which will protest almost almost 200 properties from the fast-flowing River Test.

We anticipate more rain over the next week and due to high groundwater levels the barriers could remain in place for several weeks until the risk has passed."

As previously reported in the Romsey Advertiser, Storm Dennis saw severe weather across the county – just one week after Storm Ciara hit.