A FARMER from Ringwood has warned members of the town council that Hampshire Hatches is at “severe risk of flooding” because of a blocked ditch.

Richard Pierson, who lives on Hampshire Hatches Lane, told members at the full council meeting that he was forced to use sandbags after a recent deluge of heavy rain when the neighbouring house was almost flooded.

Mr Pierson said: “There is debris on the ditch along Hampshire Hatches Lane next to the Wessex Water site.

“I have cleared my ditch and Hampshire Council has used machinery to clear the pipes at the top of the lane by the main road.

“The next part of the ditch needs doing. It is basic routine maintenance that will help allow the water to flow. I am not asking for a multi-million pound scheme, just some basic maintenance.

“Hampshire Council has done its bit, I have done my bit and now the next man needs to do his bit.”

Mr Pierson added: “I should get an award for drainage.”

Ringwood Mayor Stephen Rippon-Swayne said: “We have ap-proached Wessex water but as yet, we have no reply. We have had a very good response from Hampshire County Council, who conducted a tour of the location.

“The Better Ringwood Group has carried out a survey, which is an example of localism at its best, which the county council will draw from to compile a water management plan.

“It is understandable that something needs to be done before next winter; however we need a plan to be put in place first.”

A Wessex Water spokesman said: “Historically, these ditches have always been maintained by the council and this particular ditch acts as a highways drain, serving minimal purpose to Wessex Water’s land.

“While it is still unclear as to who is actually responsible for the ditch, we will be carrying out the maintenance work in order to prevent any further delay and inconvenience to local residents while we continue our investigations into responsibility.”