The Herald has helped speed up repairs to a pipe which has been leaking water into Alton’s Chawton Park Road for more than five weeks.

On Monday, resident John Bird said: “The leak has been reported to South East Water by numerous residents.

“I phoned about ten days ago and was told the delay was getting a licence to put up traffic lights. Really?

“Our country seems to have become a disaster zone in just about every aspect of public services. Enough is enough.”

On Tuesday, South East Water distribution manager Mathew White said: “We’re really sorry to anyone impacted by a leaking pipe in Chawton Park Road, Alton. Repairs to this leak are planned to take place tomorrow, August 24.

“As a consequence of very dry ground conditions during this dry summer, and the resulting earth movement, we have seen a 50 per cent increase in bursts along our 9,000 miles of mains running deep underground.”

Cllr Nick Adams-King, executive member for highways operations at Hampshire County Council, said: “This water leak in Alton would be classed as ‘urgent’ works and therefore we would issue the permit to work on the highway without question to ensure the water company can fix the issue as quickly as possible, using whatever traffic management they deem necessary.

“We cannot refuse emergency or urgent works. Along with most residents I agree that we must conserve water supplies, especially during extended periods of dry weather and to ensure that Hampshire’s rivers are protected from the effects of reduced flows.

“Clearly water leaks are a problem, and we will continue to encourage the water companies to do all they can to reduce the amount of water which is wasted through leakage. The county council has no power to directly regulate water companies, these are matters covered by Ofwat and the Environment Agency, which are both national bodies, established by the government.”