PEOPLE in the west of the city were last night bracing themselves to find out if attempts to keep the waters at bay had been successful.
Some 40 firefighters were in Botley Road until the early hours of yesterday morning setting up barriers to prevent the road from flooding. And they remained at the scene through the day with a temporary incident command unit set up in the Toys ‘R’ Us car park.
Incident commander Mat Carlile said: “Our objective was to try and ensure that we could keep Botley Road open for traffic. We have done the job we were sent out to do, which is fantastic. We can only wait and see what will happen now.
“We understand river levels are still rising. More rain is forecast but we will try our best to keep one of the strategic roads in Oxford open.”
Fire service incident commander Mat Carlile
On Saturday night barriers were put up at Bridge Street, Bullstake Close and at McDonald’s and the fire service were using pumps yesterday to move the water from the road.
Bullstake Close resident Colin Howes, 75, said: “I think they have done a great job – better this time than last time.
“Apparently the water levels are going to rise but we have had a lot of experience of it and our house has been flooded three times.
“We have got our furniture up just in case the water does come through. We have just got to hope for the best.”
Colin Howes surveys the floods at Bullstake Close
His neighbour George Stratford said: “I live upstairs so the flooding doesn’t really affect me.
“I have been living here since 1998 so I have seen them all.”
Oxford City Council staff were in Bullstake Close yesterday pumping water from the road back onto the floodplain behind it. Highway and engineering manager Shaun Hatton said: “None of the properties have flooded yet.
“In January the water was up to the top of the barrier and if that happens we will have to divert the water into Lamarsh Road.”
The city council had already closed Seacourt Park and Ride and was using it as a distribution point for sandbags.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth talks to incident commander Kerry Blair in Wickes’ car park off Botley Road
Meanwhile in South Hinksey, part of the village was under water again by yesterday morning.
Manor Road resident Adrian Porter said: “It is not as high as it was in January but we are a resilient community.
“Part of the village is always affected and those in the part that isn’t offer support, help to move sandbags around, and go shopping for the other residents. It’s lovely.”
Adrian Porter in part-flooded South Hinksey village
Mr Porter said January was the worst flooding the village had seen since 1947.