NO flood alleviation scheme is considered justifiable for Kempsey under current Government guidelines.

That is the stark message offered to West Worcestershire MP Sir Michael Spicer by the Environment Agency.

After last winter's floods, when the swollen Hatfield Brook inundated homes in Church Street and encroached on the A38, it was suggested a flood barrier system involving a dam and a pump would protect homes from further flooding.

Sir Michael supported more than 700 villagers who signed a petition calling for action and the EA agreed to commission a feasibility study.

The long-promised report, said to have been drafted by the end of August, had to be sent back to the consultants for amendments to be made and has still not been seen by Sir Michael or Kempsey residents.

But in a letter to Sir Michael, the EA's regional director, Dr David King, said the amendments were not likely to change the outcome of the investigation.

The benefits of any publicly-funded scheme, in terms of damage avoided, would have to exceed the building costs, but the options investigated for Kempsey all fell short of this, he said.

"I was very saddened by this letter, because there are specific things that could be done and I'd hoped sufficient public funds would be justifiably placed to do them," said Sir Michael.

"I was told the report was expected in its final form by the end of September and it's now nearly the end of October."

A spokesman for the EA said this week the report was now complete and was ready to be copied and sent out to the county, district and parish councils.

"We expect it to take a matter of weeks, rather than months," he said.

Church Street residents, who had to leave their houses for up to seven months, have now raised floors, blocked up air vents and installed pumps in an effort to protect their homes.

"We had hoped something would have happened by now, but we are still waiting," said Colin Stronach, whose house was flooded for the first time since 1947.

"It seems as though they don't take into account the knock-on costs of this," said neighbour Lesley Downing, whose family had to spend nearly six months living in a holiday cottage in Malvern.

"The elderly people opposite couldn't get in or out of their houses, even though they weren't flooded."

Joy Oram, whose home has flooded 14 times since 1979, said: "We first approached the Environment Agency in 1995 and they've been promising a feasibility study ever since. We still want to see what's in this report."