ANGRY residents in a village near Romsey have signed a petition urging Southern Water to improve water pressure in their neighbourhood, claiming it has delayed firefighters' when tackling house fires - and could be a matter of "life-or-death".

A petition, which has already been signed by 309 people, is calling on the water company to boost the water pressure "before there is another tragedy" in Awbridge.

This comes after a fire ripped through the roof of a detached house in Danes Road, leaving nothing but charred timbers in May.

One resident believes Awbridge Parish Council requested to meet with Southern Water in a bid to resolve the problem, but was left with a wall of silence.

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However, the water company has hit back at the claims insisting no firefighters "raised any concerns" over water pressure in the village.

Petition organiser and chair of Awbridge and District Village Association, Fred Tucker, said: "The fire service lost 20 valuable minutes when tackling the fire at the home on Danes Road earlier this year.

"On turning on their hoses the water came out like a garden hose, meaning water had to be sourced and stored in large pools, in the roadway, to help the situation.

He added the "pressure needs to be to be increased before there is another tragedy", adding Awbridge Parish Council "tried in vain to talk to Southern water, but to no avail."

Louise Preget, whose house was destroyed by the fire in Danes Road, added: "The loss of our home and all our belongings has been devastating to our family; we must ensure that doesn’t happen to any other family in the village."

Romsey Advertiser: The fire in Danes RoadThe fire in Danes Road

Deputy Leader of TVBC, Cllr Nick Adams-King whose home in Awbridge was also destroyed by a blaze three years ago, threw his support behind the petition.

He said: "This isn’t just an issue of low water pressure causing an inconvenience for villagers, the issue has hindered the fire brigade's response to both our and the most recent fires.

"It could be a matter of life-or-death and Southern Water’s silence on the issue is shameful."

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The petition has been sent to MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes, who will present it to Parliament.

A spokesperson from Southern Water defended the pressure locally and said: "We can see from our records that a number of hydrants were in use during the fire on 25 May and to cope with demand we ran our nearby booster station to assist.

"No one from the fire service has raised any concerns with us regarding pressure, either at the time or subsequently.

"We would always seek to cooperate with any request made by emergency services and we value our excellent relationship with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service."

To sign the Change.org petition, follow the link https://www.change.org/p/southern-water-company-lack-of-water-pressure-in-awbridge-village.