Senior figures from the City Council toured a number of villages in the Winchester District on Friday (21 February) to see for themselves the tremendous efforts of local volunteers in dealing with the on-going flooding.
The Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Ernie Jeffs, The Mayoress of Winchester, Mrs Barbara Jeffs and Deputy Leader, Cllr Robert Humby, donned their wellies to visit Easton, Headbourne Worthy, Sutton Scotney, Hursley and Bramdean.
The party viewed the impact of the recent heavy rainfall and some of the interventions put in place to reduce the risk of flooding. They were able to offer their sympathy to householders who have been worst affected, and support for some of the businesses for whom the exceptional weather has provided challenges from ruined stock to loss of passing trade.
In Easton, to the north-east of Winchester – where the Environment Agency created a barrier in the river to create a ‘holding pool’ on local land to prevent major flooding in Winchester City – the Mayor and Deputy Leader met residents and a pub owner who said that they had had to take a leap of faith in the local agencies when the barrier was first proposed.
In Sutton Scotney, where the Military played a key role in constructing sandbag defences, a whole welcome party turned out to greet the visitors. They toured several businesses affected to consider the type of assistance needed to support business and community recovery.
Cllr Ernie Jeffs, The Mayor of Winchester, said: “The Mayoress and I were really impressed with the community spirit. So many people have helped others during this difficult period, and residents have carried on with their daily lives regardless of what has been thrown at them. It was also good to see the parish councils playing a vital role in supporting flood-afflicted areas. They have been strong partners in the flood relief effort, working at all hours of the day and night. We are looking forward to visiting some more parishes next week.”
Cllr Robert Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, added:
“Although I have been very much involved with relief work in my own Ward, I am pleased to have a broader overview of the District now. In the areas we visited the road closures were clearly having an impact on businesses, which are keen to spread the word that they are open and keen to see customers. We can all do our bit to support these rural pubs and shops.
“Our officers are now working fast to implement a range of national and local support measures, ranging from Business Rate and Council Tax rebates to special grants to build future resilience.”
To find out more about Winchester City Council’s business recovery response visit www.winchester.gov.uk/business/business-recovery/