HAMPSHIRE residents are being given a helping hand to defend against future floods.

Councillors and local flood committee representatives from across Test Valley gathered to discuss preventative measures which will be implemented in some of the most badly affected areas of the county.

The event, held at King’s Somborne village hall last Saturday (June 21), was led by members of Test Valley Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Paul Francis, HFRS Community Safety Officer for Test Valley, said it is vital that villages, such as King's Somborne, develop their own resilience.

"Many communities can easily become cut off during incidents like this winter's flooding," he said. "When there is high demand on our services, as there was during the floods, we have to prioritise our resources and aren't always able to respond to every single call.

"This is where a thorough and accessible plan can be put in to action, providing a ‘first aid’ approach for individuals and local businesses, especially the most vulnerable in the community."

The plans include creating contact lists for residents to access services or resources, such as sandbag providers, more easily.

Mr Francis added: "We are really keen to share the lessons learned from the flooding and other recent incidents to help communities develop simple yet effective plans.

"We welcome the opportunity to meet with parish councils and will provide guidance to build on the resilience that has already been demonstrated throughout many of the communities in recent months."

Cllr Ian Carr, chairman of Test Valley Partnership, said: “I was keen to get all our councillors and emergency response agencies together following the flooding to discuss what went well, what could have been done differently and how we could work with residents to put in place plans to respond to major incidents. Some of our parishes coped particularly well during the flooding because they already had these plans in place, so I wanted to see how these might be adopted more widely.

“It was a great event and I was pleased to see so many councillors and emergency response agencies together in one room. I hope we don’t see a repeat of last winter’s flooding, but if we do, we will do everything we can to make sure our communities are well prepared for it.”