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22 February 2014, 06:14 | Updated: 22 February 2014, 06:17
As the national flooding situation appears to be stabilising, a major clean-up operation is beginning in earnest across the Winchester district.
With roads re-opening and flooding lessening many businesses are keen to assure people that they are welcoming customers as usual.
All Winchester’s hotels and the majority of the district’s world-class attractions have remained open throughout the flooding. And the more heavily affected rural areas including Sutton Scotney, Hursley, Littleton, Hambledon, Bishop’s Waltham, Kings Worthy, Twyford and Micheldever are also now getting back on their feet with pubs and village stores keen to reassure customers that they will receive a warm welcome. The message is ‘we’re open for business’.
Simon Cooper, co-owner of Twyford Stores and Bean Below, said: “We’re keen to let people know that the shop is still open and still bursting with tempting local produce. The support from our loyal village customers throughout the worst of the flooding has been amazing and we’re keen to get the message out to the wider public that we appreciate this and we’re still trading.”
Linda Toomer, landlady of The Coach and Horses in Sutton Scotney, said: “Sutton Scotney was quite badly affected by groundwater rising - at one point The Coach and Horses was partially flooded but we did manage to remain open throughout. We’re keen to get the message out that we are still open, we’re still serving great local food and ale and above all the atmosphere is as friendly and welcoming as ever. We’d also like to thank the loyal local clientele who carried on supporting us through the worst of this situation, even helping us to keep the water at bay during an unforgettable Valentine’s Evening event.”
Cllr Robert Humby, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Prosperity and Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council, added: “It has been a testing time for many people across the district with unprecedented levels of flooding. Many people still remain affected and we continue to support them in every way we can. By working together with the Armed Forces, Environment Agency, Hampshire Highways, Southern Water, the Fire Service and Hampshire Constabulary we’re mindful that we’ve averted a more serious crisis that could so easily have occurred.
“As well as getting the message out there that the city is still functioning, we’re keen to encourage people to support the shops, pubs, cafés, bed & breakfasts and post office stores in the areas that were most affected by the flood water. So please do continue to come to Winchester and the surrounding area, shop locally and enjoy a pub lunch while you’re here!”
Winchester’s innovative responses to heavy floods saved the historic city from closure. A series of speedily implemented strategic decisions, including tactically flooding the Itchen at Easton and Kings Worthy, containing the floods at River Park and temporarily raising Andover Road have all gained the Environment Agency and local councils national plaudits for taking decisive action that both kept the historic city functioning and minimised damage.