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City’s at-risk areas urged to act now as more rain looms
Buy this photo Gerald Brassill prepares hoses at Bullstake Close, Oxford. Picture: Antony Moore
OXFORD was last night braced for more flooding as officials urged people to get out the sandbags.
The Environment Agency said that properties could be flooded, as defences went up and officials monitored waterways near Botley Road and Abingdon Road.
A flood warning this morning remained in place for the Thames in west and south Oxford. It means that flooding is expected and raises the possibility of more disruption in the wake of last month’s floods.
Councillor Rodney Rose told the Oxford Mail he did not know how bad the flooding could get – but said every step was being taken to deal with what might happen.
“Looking to the middle of the week, we need to be prepared,” he said.
“Demountable flood barriers will go up if they are needed, and if you have needed sandbags before, get them again.”
He urged anyone living in the at-risk zones – Iffley and Botley are among those most under threat – to make sure they had a plan for moving furniture when the time came.
He said: “Make sure you have the ability to lift things up on bricks or upstairs. You really need to have an idea of how you are going to do it.”
But he urged city residents not to panic.
Oxford City Council’s emergency flood team installed barriers at the flood-prone Bullstake Close, off Botley Road, on Saturday afternoon.
The Met Office is forecasting light spells of rain today and tomorrow with a day of heavy rain on Wednesday.
Oxford City councillor Colin Cook, who lives in Riverside Road, said water was now about half way up his garden and about a foot from where it had reached at the worst last month.
He said: “It seems to be fairly stable at the moment, but we will have to pay close attention over the coming days as more rainfall is predicted from tomorrow until Sunday.”
Jalal Khan, 49, who manages Aziz restaurant on Cowley Road and lives in Bullstake Close with his wife and three children, said: “I am very worried about my house. When I moved into this house, they told me the flood risk was 100 to one. Now I’ve been flooded three times in one month.
“Last month, I couldn’t get my children to school for a week. We need a permanent flood barrier here.”
Andy Whittington, Oxford City Council’s operational manager for flood risk, said yesterday that he and his team would stay in a temporary base at Bullstake Close for 24 hours to monitor things.
Glenn James, from Abingdon, said he has not been able to get to his allotment behind Bullstake Close for the past three weeks.
He said: “If they dredged the river, that would help.”
But the Environment Agency has said that dredging often does nothing to reduce the flood risk.
An official said yesterday that the Thames at Oxford was rising slowly and was being monitored.
Two other flood warnings are in place in the south east of the county, while a number of less serious flood alerts are also in place in Oxfordshire.
Environment Agency spokesman Cheryl Walmsley said last night: “The Thames tributaries have now responded to the recent rainfall and this is expected to continue into this week.
“The Thames at Oxford is currently rising slowly, and there is a flood warning in place for the River Thames and tributaries at New Botley, North Hinksey and Grandpont in Oxford.
“We are not deploying any flood defences today but are monitoring the water levels closely and will review this if necessary.”
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