WORCESTER is getting ready for the big clean-up as water levels start to fall following some of the highest floods in living memory.

City mayor Pat Agar paid a visit to some of the workers as they used power washers to clean the roads and pavements outside the new Worcester Arena in Hylton Road. It is hoped the road will be open to traffic some time today (Wednesday).

Cllr Agar said: "This is just the start of a major city-wide clean-up that will take several weeks, but I am very proud to see what a fantastic job our city council staff are already doing. I know that, once the water levels fall further, they will have our great city looking beautiful again as quickly as possible."

Gheluvelt Park has now reopened, but the bridge connecting the main park to the conservation area, by the tennis courts, is still closed because of the flooding. The city council is asking park users to keep to the footpaths because the grass is sodden.

The Severn at Diglis was at 4.1 metres at 4pm yesterday, and the Environment Agency said significant flooding from the river will go on until at least tomorrow.

In Upton, the bridge across the Severn was due to reopen to traffic using a convoy system at 5pm yesterday. However the

But for many, the struggle is not yet over. Residents of a rural hamlet between Kempsey and Severn Stoke have been building their own flood defences to keep rising waters at bay.

Early yesterday morning, the water level rose some nine inches and entered two houses at Sandford, but the home-made bund kept it out of five others.

District councillor David Harrison said: "This is not river water, but water from a brook which flows down from Kerswell Green.

"It flows through a culvert under the A38, but a gate in the culvert has been closed to keep the rising river water back. Normally, this gate is closed or a week or ten days at a time, but it's been closed for much longer, causing the water from the brook to back up.

"Although the water has got into two houses, the residents have built their own bund and are also pumping water out."

The fire service sent a response officer to Sandford yesterday morning to make an assessment. The officer gave safety and flooding advice to the affected residents and the incident was then passed to the Environment Agency.