RESIDENTS have been stranded in their Hampreston homes since December 23 because of severe flooding.

Stapehill Road flooded over the Christmas period – and despite the efforts of the local authority, many remain trapped indoors by the deluge.

Mum-of-two Sara Keets has been unable to get to work because of the problems.

She said the road has “become a river”.

“It’s impassable and that’s due entirely to negligence rather than mother nature,” she said.

“The drainage ditch at the Hampreston crossroads end of the road has rarely been attended by the council during the last decade. When they do respond to calls and complaints they fail to dig out the ditch itself.”

She said the ditch has been filled with verge cuttings, hedge and tree trimmings and fly tipping over the years.

“The rotting debris clogs the underground drainage pipe that should allow water to continue flowing down into the river,” she added.

“The council says it’s the responsibility of the farmer, but if that’s the case, surely they have the right to issue notice to force compliance, or to maintain it themselves and counter claim the costs involved.”

Sara’s children weren’t able to attend their first day back at school yesterday because of the problems.

Her neighbour Linda Kirkman said a disabled elderly man is one of those trapped by the floods.

“On Saturday, the Highways Department arrived at 8am with a view to pumping out the water, but almost seven hours later, the water level remains as high as ever,” she said.

Yesterday, after more storms lashed the county, the water levels rose even higher.

Linda said: “The water is now spilling over the tops of wellington boots. It’s actually getting worse. What’s really frustrating is that people are still driving down the road, even though it’s closed to vehicles.

“One became trapped last week, and when it was towed out, it made a pothole significantly bigger. It’s frustrating and upsetting.”