A TRIAL pumping scheme at the West Ham electricity sub-station in Worting Road has been resumed for the third time after heavy rain caused concern earlier this morning.

The high volume pumping trial was first halted at 10.30pm on Thursday night after a pipe was thought to have been 'slashed' in a subway connecting the Leisure Park and a nearby petrol station on Churchill Way .

But crews from Hampshire Fire and Rescue were able to resume pumping at 12.20am this morning.

However the operation at the site was stopped at 6am this morning to allow specialist crews to monitor water levels in the River Loddon.

After an inspection at 10am, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council took the decision to 'temporarily suspend' the operation as a precautionary measure because of heavy rainfall in the area between 3am and 4.30am, this morning.

Pumping resumed for the third time at 11.30 this morning after river levels dropped.

Water levels in the River Loddon will continue to be monitored.

Chief Executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Tony Curtis said: "Residents living downstream can be reassured that we are being deliberately cautious, especially when there has been heavy rain to make sure that what we are doing does not put extra strain on the Loddon. 

"We will only pump when we are sure that the river levels have gone down sufficiently for us to do so.

“The good news is that the pumping has seen the level of the water around the pumping station go down by 225mm despite the ground water continually replenishing, which shows we are making some progress.”

Council leader, Councillor Clive Sanders, also praised fire crews for their efforts in repairing a damaged pipe.

“I am saddened and disappointed by the mindless act.  It is unbelievable that after all the effort and planning that went into getting this pumping arranged that it was put at risk.

"I cannot praise the fire service highly enough on the way they worked tirelessly to get the pipe repaired and the pumping started again as quickly as possible.”

The trial, which is aimed at easing groundwater levels at the flooded electricity sub-station, was launched at 1pm on Thursday.

If the trial is successful, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will look to use the system to reduce groundwater levels in the flooded areas of Buckskin.