Croydon's bid to keep flood waters at bay from houses in Kenley and Purley has been praised as "little short of inspired" by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

The Conservative MP, who yesterday apologised to flood-hit Somerset for the Government opting not to dredge local rivers, visited the Godstone Road water treatment plant in Kenley this morning as the battle to keep it open continues.

Speaking to the Croydon Guardian during the visit, Mr Pickles highlighted for the praise the use of the Purley Cross underpass to contain floodwaters.

He said: "I have been dealing with gold command across the country and Croydon does deserve special praise for being imaginative and also for the very good work between all the various services.

"The use of the underpass is a little short of inspired. When the really bad rain comes later in the week it will give us a slight chance.

"I have been looking at the levels of the water and they seem to be doing okay.

"I think Croydon has been phenomenal, just absolutely phenomenal. When we first started talking to them they knew exactly what they wanted. I'm really impressed."

Croydon Council opted to pump water into the pedestrian underpress on Saturday night to prevent water flooding homes. 

Firefighters, council contractors and Sutton and East Surrey Water are continuing to battle to keep the flooding from overcoming the water treatment plant, which serves 48,000 homes.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government took to BBC One's the Andrew Marr on Sunday to apologise on behalf of the Government for flooding on the Somerset Levels.