OXFORD’S political leaders say they have held “very constructive” talks with Downing Street officials about a proposed £123m flood relief channel for the city.

Rodney Rose, deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council, Nicola Blackwood, Conservative MP for Oxford West & Abingdon, and Andrew Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East, were in London yesterday to discuss plans to prevent future flooding.

They met advisers to Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron to put the case for the Western Conveyance Channel, which would allow water to bypass Oxford rather than run through it and cause flooding.

Once complete, the channel – which would be as wide as the River Thames – would run from Seacourt Stream, north of Botley Road, to Sandford Lock.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Rose said: “Flooding costs Oxfordshire’s economy around £50m a week each time it happens, and we want to ensure that everyone with an interest in the county works together to tackle this problem.

“We will be keeping the Prime Minister’s advisers up-to-date with the discussions we will be having at a flood summit in a few weeks time.”

Mr Price said: “I was pleased with the clear level of understanding that the advisers showed at our meeting.

“There is a very strong economic case for this scheme, but we need partnership funding.”

A spokesman for 10 Downing Street said they would not be commenting because it was a private meeting.