Flooding in Winchester

Press Release: 12/02/2014

Flooding at the River Park

Statement by Cllr Keith Wood, the Leader of Winchester City Council

For some time now, we have faced real challenges across the District due to rising water levels. Hambledon has been managing groundwater flooding for several weeks, and is a great example of a community pulling together to help itself. A number of other areas in the town and outlying villages face a real risk of flooding.

I am very grateful for the work our officers have done to respond to the many and varied requests for help. I know agencies such as Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, the Environment Agency and the Army have also been of great assistance. In the past 10 days we have distributed several thousand sandbags and answered many calls for advice and assistance. We cannot help all, and resources are stretched, but I know many have worked very hard to help our residents.

Unfortunately there is a huge problem building up because there is a great deal of water yet to come off the fields and flow through Winchester. More heavy rain is expected which will exacerbate the situation. Council officers have been working with the Environment Agency to find ways of managing the flow of water into Winchester town so that we can avoid the Itchen bursting its banks and flooding over 100 houses.

I agreed yesterday that the Environment Agency should place a barrier just outside Easton to allow them to control the flow of the Itchen downstream and through Winnall Moors to Winchester. Officers are also talking to Agency staff and others about other options for managing that water flow to minimise the impact of these unprecedented conditions on the historic City.

Many other parts of the District are affected, and we are doing what we can to assist communities in Headbourne Worthy, King’s Worthy, Littleton, Twyford, Cheriton and elsewhere. The bones of King Canute are in Winchester Cathedral and he is a reminder that we cannot hold back the water. But we are doing everything we can to minimise the impact it will have on our communities.