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'We should be using the A34 as the Oxford Thames Flood Barrier'
Updated 11:28am Tuesday 21st January 2014 in News
THE A34 could be used as a dam to solve Oxford’s flooding problems, it has been claimed.
Tom Ballance, 56, said the road – which is raised above the floodplains – could be used as a dam by installing sluice gates underneath.
The ex-farmer and boatyard manager, from Binsey, claims his plan could solve serious flooding in Binsey, Botley and Osney for about £500,000.
Mr Ballance, pictured, a stand-up paddle-boarder and instructor, said: “I call it the Oxford Thames Flood Barrier because that is what it could be, but they are not using it.
“What other city or town on the Thames can say they have a flood barrier?
“The Environment Agency (EA) has ignored the A34. It is staggering. I’m speechless.”
Mr Ballance, who previously worked at Medley Manor Farm in Medley, Manor Farm in Binsey and University Farm near Whytham, said building sluice gates into four channels that flow underneath the A34, between Wolvercote and Botley, would mean the water levels in the floodplain around Wytham could be controlled.
He said the EA would then need to carry out flood protection work to about five houses in Wytham and homes in Wolvercote.
As well as the A34 work, Mr Ballance said a causeway that runs along the Thames by Port Meadow needs repairing at Godstow Lock because floodwater is being let through.
Meanwhile the bridges under Botley Road need clearing of silt and foliage.
Mr Ballance, who managed the Bossons boatyard in Binsey Lane between 1981 and 2004, added: “My three point plan plan is based on 10 years of observation and a lifetime of experience.”
He meets Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood next Friday to discuss his plans.
But chairman of Oxford Flood Alliance Peter Rawcliffe said work needs to concentrate on the flooding pinch-point around Sandford Lock, Kennington.
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