As parts of the Midlands had a sense of deja vu, the flood defences in one Worcestershire town were holding firm as locals last night insisted it was still open for business.

Grahame Bunn, who owns the riverside pub The King's Head in Upton-on-Severn, said fears over local flood warnings was driving away customers.

Mr Bunn, who had been landlord of The King's Head for just three months before it was flooded last July, said the current situation had been exaggerated.

He said: "The barriers are up and we're not going to flood on the riverfront - Upton is open for business, please come and see us.

"I've seen worse floods than this in the town, so why some of the media have turned it into a big deal I don't know. Perhaps it is because of the floods in July.

"Even the Hanley Road between Malvern and Upton - which is always the first road to close when it floods - is open."

Mr Bunn said customers should not to be put off by reports of doom and gloom.

He added: "I have had cancellations in our restaurant because people thought we were cut off and I know other traders have been affected too. At the moment, there are more people from the media in Upton than customers, and there's no reason for it."

Jonathan Butler, landlord of The Anchor, which is 150 metres away from the river in Upton, agreed flooding reports had been "hyped".

He said: "It's not so bad at the moment. The big difference from July is that the flood barriers are in place this time. At end of the day you have to put your confidence in them.

"I like to think we'll be fine. Although the heavy rain predicted in the next few days will be a telling factor."

In neighbouring Gloucestershire, residents and businesses were preparing for the worst.

John Bishop, the landlord of the Fleet Inn, in Twyning, on the banks of the Avon, had cleared the pub's pets corner of its guinea pigs and canaries, in anticipation of water spilling over the garden walls.

Mr Bishop, 52, said: "It is frightening that it has taken so little rain to put us in a perilous position once again. I'm on my way out to get more sandbags from the council.

"Although we've had a £2,500 grant from the Flood Relief Fund, I am still trying to get money from my insurer."

Kelly Bartlett, of the Longlevens Flood Committee in Gloucester, one of the city's worst-affected wards, said: "People have moved their belongings upstairs. Many haven't moved them down since Friday when this spell of bad weather began."

Teacher Andy Bateman said the threat of a brook outside his young family's home in G loucester flooding again was "unbearable".

Mr Bateman, 32, and his wife Katie, 31, only moved back into their house in Cypress Gardens nine weeks ago and have a baby daughter. He said lining his doorstep with sandbags did not ease their fear that the stream 20ft away might burst its banks once more.

Mr Bateman said: "Every time it rains we are worried. Some things you can live with, but this constant threat is unbearable."