Residents of Vernham Dean are set to be evacuated from their Aster Property Homes, as the rising water table creeps up into buildings. Devastated tenants, Moira and Geoff, who have lived in their homes since the early 1980’s, told Andover & Villages that they had never seen flooding like it in their time in the village. Ground water is rising into the properties, under the floorboards, where electrical junctions are situated.
Aster electricians were called out and were making safe the house circuits, while Group Asset Director, Michael Reece, who was overlooking the work, told us that money was no object in ensuring the safety of their tenants, in these distressing and dangerous times.
Michael told us that emergency accommodation in Andover and Stockbridge was available for tenants to move into, and that if the water levels were to rise to the point of completely flooding properties, residents would be rehoused, whilst homes were dried out and repaired.
Moira and Geoff are clearly devastated at the thought and also had grave concerns for their neighbour, who, for obvious reasons, does not want to leave her home. Michael Reece visited the elderly resident, using Geoff’s wellies, to talk through her concerns.
Neighbours next to these properties, who privately own their home, evacuated yesterday with a reported foot of water already having entered their property.
Andover & Villages was in Vernham Dean with Test Valley Borough Councillor, Peter Giddings, who has, along with Hampshire County Councillor, Tim Rolt, been a constant presence within the village, helping to organise portaloos for the many families who are unable to use their own toilets, and one home has reportedly got water flooding up through the toilet.
This school has also been struck by the same issue. As our reporter watched, portacabin toilet blocks were craned into place in the school grounds so that the school could remain open, sadly the school made the decision to close an hour later.
The George Inn, which is central to the village, has said that locals can use their toilets. However, they aren’t without their own problems with flooding in the cellar.
The oldest male parishioner in Verham Dean, Mr. Tony Vincent, told Andover and Villages that he had seen the water levels higher during his many years in the village, but the current weather was certainly the worst it had been for at least 30 years. Water had filled Mr Vincent’s garden over night, at first only a trickle, when he went to bed, but this morning, most of the (most beautiful garden in the village in the Summer, we were told) was underwater.
The Parish Council is out in force today, and we were lucky enough to meet chairman, John Garbutt, who was also walking around the village to see if he can help. He also pointed out that, because the water was coming from below, there was little anyone could do other than wait for the levels to drop and then take on the task of drying out people’s homes. Mary Perry, a parish councillor, was very evident for the whole time Andover & Villages was in the village, talking to residents and making sure they were safe and had everything they needed. As Councillor Peter Giddings told us; “The village really is a great community where everyone comes together in times of need.”
Their current efforts are testament to that.
The road from Upton into Vernham Dean is barely passable, and people are advised not to use it, unless driving a larger vehicle, or a vehicle designed to withstand such conditions. Not only is the water quite deep, but it is fast flowing with some force.