Huge clean-up job starts as residents count flood costs

A man negotiates Botley Road, which was shut to drivers yesterday due to puddle Pictures: OX64566 Damian Halliwell

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First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

WEST Oxford residents are beginning a huge clean-up task after flood waters finally receded.

People in the area breathed a sigh of relief after water levels fell overnight in the normally busy Botley Road – but for many the problem has not gone away.

Earl Street resident Andrew Ivett has had to splash through his house in wellies – with the flood water two inches deep.

Mr Ivett said: “It’s wretched and it makes life joyless. It has probably cost me thousands of pounds in damage to the carpet and walls.”

The 61-year-old had his house flooded in the 2007 floods and paid for a damp-course and new skirting boards.

Now he fears he will have to repeat the process again.

Further down the street, grandmother Betty Carman has had her conservatory flooded.

Ms Carman, who celebrated her 80th birthday last week, said: “The conservatory has got water in it but the rest of the house has not yet.”

Alex Latter, 30, of Earl Street, had flood water in his kitchen and hopes water levels continue to fall.

The Magdalen College School English teacher, who lives with girlfriend Ellie Collins, said: “We were concerned when we were told we might have to move out, but the flooding has mainly been irritating.”

Nick Hills, 65, who belongs to Oxford Flood Alliance steering group, said residents were better prepared for flooding after the 2007 crisis, which left his Earl Street house 18 inches under water.

He said: “Progress has been made and we have worked closely with the authorities.

“But now the maintenance process begins.”

In Duke Street, resident David Whittingham said the flood levels have dropped after rising steadily for the last week.

The 33-year-old said: “There is four feet of water in my garden but it’s gone down about two centimetres overnight. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

The flooding caused a power cut in Binsey Lane on Thursday that lasted into Friday.

Resideht Hailey Broadbent, 29, who works for Taylor and Francis publishing in Didcot, said: “It’s freezing in the house without electricity because we have got about two feet of water under the floor.”

The flooding meant Oxford City Council was unable to collect rubbish in Botley Road and 10 streets leading off it yesterday.

Botley Road’s businesses have struggled with falling trade, with Cake Expectations, Oxford Ironmongery, Carpet Right and the Classique hair salon all shut.

Ferhat Durmusoglu, from Knead Me Massage Therapies, was still open but business was slow. He said: “New clients have stopped coming in. We have lost money.”

Oxford Wine Company manager Lee Isaacs said: “The week has been a write-off. We would normally take £10,000 but we’ve probably only got 10 per cent of that.”

Mum-of-two Kay Tillyer, 52, of Binsey Lane, said: “The situation is getting hairier year by year.”

Postman Martin Lygo battled through the water. He said: “I am just about getting there and I hope people appreciate the effort.”

 

BE PREPARED

IF you are at risk of flooding: 

  • Fit flood boards on doors, use sandbags, and fit toilet bungs on downstairs toilets
  • Put plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down with a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with soil
  • Switch off water, gas and electricity at the mains when water is about to enter your home
  • Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in water
  • Disconnect equipment that uses water, like washing machines and dishwashers
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood water
  • The latest advice and details of flood alerts and warnings are available at environment-agency.gov.uk or call 0845 988 1188

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