Hopes of an end to the misery of Sinnington's long-running flooding problems were dashed this week when the Environment Agency said it could not justify spending £1.4 million on flood defence schemes.

The blow came at a packed public meeting in the village hall when Dean Hamblin of the Environment Agency's asset system team said that while Sinnington had suffered seven floods since 1993, the spending of so much money was "not sustainable".

At the end of the heated meeting, it was agreed that a group be formed to investigate ways of winning funding and some villagers also offered to repeat DIY work they did on the river four years ago.

Mr Hamblin said extensive investigations had been carried out as part of a flood risk assessment for Sinnington, and seven options had been drawn up, including taking no action, raising flood defences, building a bypass channel around the village, building a reservoir upstream and giving earlier flood warnings.

Mr Hamblin said a hydraulic model had been created to map where flood water might go because Sinnington suffered from heavy rain speeding down the hills from the moors.

The spending of £1.4 million had been ruled out because Sinnington only scored between 4.2 and 5.5 marks in the Defra scoring system for flood defence work, while the department had said in the past that a scoring of 30 would be needed to give works priority.

The damage to houses and their contents was put at just under £200,000 - a figure strongly challenged at the meeting, with claims that four houses alone had suffered damage totalling £250,000, and 45 had been hit.

The Rev Brian Shackleton said the Environment Agency had said Sinnington was only likely to be flooded once in a 100 years, but his home had been flooded twice in five years.

"We want to remove the risk and dredging is very significant. A lot of people want to see the river channel deepened. We are a community prepared to help ourselves but we need agreement for the Environment Agency to work with us."

Steve Wragg, a senior officer with the Environment Agency, said action was being taken to hold water on the moors and to return peat bogs to the moors to absorb water.

The river level gauge at the bridge leading into Sinnington is also being upgraded to monitor levels and flows of the Seven.

Liz Newbronner, chairman of Sinnington Parish Council, said she felt the meeting had had a positive outcome.

"It was always going to be a difficult meeting and the agency had a difficult message to get over.

But they have acknowledged that the flood warning system is not adequate and I do hope we can have something which will reduce the severity of flooding in the village if not eliminate it."