RESIDENTS of three blocks of flats which were surrounded by floodwater feel they are living in “the land that time forgot”.

Four households fled their homes on Christmas Day after water poured into ground floor flats at Stourbanks in Conifer Gardens, Christchurch.

The remaining 18 flats were visited by police late on Sunday night and residents were warned to leave.

Upstairs resident Paul Richards said: “They were now advising the upstairs people to go because there was probably going to be five feet of floodwater in the downstairs block which would take out the mains electricity.”

Mr Richards said the residents were not given somewhere else to go like the evacuated residents of nearby Iford Bridge. They had only received one visit from a council official.

“We’re like the land that time forgot here,” he said.

Ground floor resident Eric Matthews was among those whose home has been wrecked by foul-smelling water. He said he was woken by Mr Richards at 4.30am on Christmas Day as the floodwater rose.

“Twenty minutes or half an hour later we were wading in it. It was streaming through the front,” he said.

“People got all the furniture out as best they could, wading through everything. They got all the carpets up.

“We just left then and I’m staying at the Premier Inn.”

Mr Richards said the flats should be given better flood protection.

“I think about 25-30 years ago a feasibility study was carried out on getting a bund put in. I would have bitten their hand off but residents at the time said no because it would spoil their views of the river,” he said.

“If the bund isn’t put in, if people lose their contents insurance and if we lose our buildings insurance, eventually the people living here will lose their homes because they won’t be able to live here.”

Neil Farmer, strategic director for Christchurch and East Dorset councils, said in a statement: “In our role as a category one responder in support of the emergency services, we have responded to requests for help from residents of Conifer Close as promptly as we can once made aware.”