AUTHORITIES were last night locked in talks about how to keep Botley Road open as the county faced the prospect of more flooding.

Oxfordshire County Council deputy leader Rodney Rose said the flood relief efforts so far had been ‘fantastic’.

But he warned: “If we get the rain we are forecast then we shall be very lucky to keep Botley Road open but we are doing everything we can to achieve that.”

He said they were discussing how to keep the road open, including putting a temporary road surface over the pipes if water levels rose to the extent that they would have to pump water across Botley Road into Lamarsh Road. Fire crews and council officers were working round the clock overnight on Sunday into yesterday morning pumping water away in a bid to keep Botley Road open.

Last month it was closed for four days along with Abingdon Road, which brought Oxford to a standstill as cars struggled to get in and out of the city.

Yesterday council and fire service leaders met at a temporary base at Wickes’ car park off Botley Road to discuss how to keep the road open.

Tim Sadler, executive director of community services at Oxford City Council, said: “Along with Abingdon Road, it is one of the major routes into Oxford and we saw last month that the city quickly breaks down into gridlock if they are closed.”

The Met Office says heavy rain showers will hit the county this morning with more to come tomorrow afternoon.

And with 11 flood warnings already in place in the county that could spell trouble for Botley Road.

Deputy chief fire officer Nathan Travis said: “We can carry on pumping as long as we need to, but if the water table starts to rise we will have to see what happens.”