NEW Forest MP Desmond Swayne is backing calls from residents at Stubbings Meadow in Ringwood to tackle flooding which has blighted the park over the last five months.

Residents living at the park have reached the end of their tether after torrential rain and rising ground water levels have left their gardens under six inches of water.

They say the rising levels of the River Avon have left them walking through water to reach their front doors and high ground water levels are causing problems with flushing toilets.

And now they are voicing concerns that the damp could start to cause health problems.

Blame has been placed on the “mismanagement” of the water table and there are calls for improved flood defences, with residents claiming other parts of the town are protected but their homes are not.

Stubbings Meadow resident Dennis Whitfield said: “We have had to suffer the consequences of the Environmental Agency, Natural England and Hampshire County Council deciding to keep the water levels higher to improve the environment for the flora and fauna.

“It seems as if those that make this assessment have no thought whatsoever for people and property.

“All summer we have had flooded gardens and as the water table is being kept so high by authorities when we have heavy rain it floods footpaths and is making our homes prone to damp.

“Something must be done.”

Now Mr Swayne has written to the Secretary of State asking for the matter to be reviewed.

He said: “Following further meeting with Avon Valley farmers and representatives of the National Farmers’ Union recently, I wrote earlier this week to the Secretary of State asking for the matter to be reviewed.”

The Environment Agency’s flood risk management engineer Steve Malpass said: “The flood defence scheme in place does not include all the properties at risk of flooding in Ringwood and these properties at Stubbings Meadow were not included because of the ground water problems.

“The scheme in place is essentially a river flooding alleviation scheme and it didn’t tackle the ground water problems.

“If we were to have tackled the ground water problems no scheme would have been built as it would have amounted to hundreds of millions to put in place.

“Ground water issues are a huge problem in the Ringwood area.”