Areas of Buckskin suffered the most extensive property flooding in Hampshire after intensive and prolonged rainfall during the winter of 2013/14. This overwhelmed the drainage system including the public foul sewer network, and the County Council took steps to convene a multi agency group to work together to carry out a programme of maintenance improvements while working on the design a major flood mitigation scheme. This was coordinated and led by Hampshire County Council, and included representatives from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Sovereign Housing, South East Water and Thames Water.
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “A great deal of collaborative work has been done by all the organisations involved since the winter of 2014, while a permanent scheme has been designed and funding secured for it, from clearing drains and ditches to setting up a local flood action group in the community. We now have everything in place to start major engineering work designed to reduce the impact of flooding to properties in the future.”
Cathie Wyatt, Chair of the Buckskin Flood Action Group, said: “It is fantastic to see this finally happening. The community will see work being done, and people will feel reassured. It’s such a relief after the flooding four years ago. I’m only sorry that Cllr Nigel Pierce, who did so much to help us get to this point, isn’t here to see it.”
This major engineering project will cost £6.24 million. Hampshire County Council is contributing £2.04 million, with £1.75 million coming from the Government’s Flood Defence Grant in Aid, £2.2 million from the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee Local Levy, and £250,000 from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety, Councillor Simon Bound, said: “It is great to see construction starting. Our councillors and council officers have been supporting the work that the County Council has been doing, as lead local flood authority. I would especially like to acknowledge the input of the ward councillors, including our late colleague Cllr Nigel Pierce, Cllr Tony Jones and, more recently, Cllr Stephanie Grant.”
The scheme will be constructed in two phases: Phase 1 comprises improvements of ditches and upgrades to culverts along Churchill Way West and Worting Road, and improvements of ditches in Saunders Field to improve drainage of floodwater between Buckskin and the start of the River Loddon.
Phase 2 will consist of works to the subway near McDonalds, and new drainage to collect and connect rising ground water from between houses in the Buckskin area to a new surface water gravity pipe. The pipe will be installed between the Ridgeway Centre on the Buckskin Estate and the start of the existing winterbourne ditch to the north of Worting Road Roundabout. This work is scheduled to start early next year.