FLOOD victims previously stranded in their homes last winter are to benefit from two new walkways.
The walkways, costing £91,000, are being built for the 23 flats and 10 houses in Osney Court off Botley Road, Oxford, after flooding marooned residents for more than a week in January.
Flood waters surrounded their homes and car park meaning they could not get out on to Botley Road without wellies or waders – although the insides of their homes are raised and stayed dry.
Residents were offered the chance to stay in a hotel while the flooding cleared.
In November 2012 firefighters helped carry children from their homes to Botley Road.
Osney Court resident James Jefferson, 52, urged owners Home Group to build the ramps in January this year after it got planning permission for the project last August.
Osney Court resident James Jefferson
He said: “We could have done with it before the floods, but I am pleased they have made a start on it.
“It should make a difference being able to get to the road without getting wet.”
Mr Jefferson and his wife, Sandy Jefferson, 52, declined the offer of being rescued and instead wore waders and wellies to get outside.
But he said other elderly neighbours could not get out of their houses.
Janet Mills has lived at Osney Court for eight years.
The 67-year-old said: “They could have taken the view that floods are a rare event and just something we need to live with once in a while but I’m really impressed they are building this walkway.
“It means that should we ever get similar flooding again we’ll be able to carry on as usual.”
She said Home Group helped with her shopping and topping up electricity cards during the floods.
Foundations for the metal walkways – one leading to the flats and one to the houses – have been dug this week.
The 12-week project is being carried out by Wantage-based BPJ Construction Ltd.
Home Group project manager Jeremy Lear said: “Changing weather patterns means flooding is becoming more likely.
“Osney Court was built on a raised platform and it has served the householders there well, protecting them from flood water.
“We can’t stop another flood but we can make sure customers have access to their homes, so we’ve been busy working with residents on designing a raised metal walkway to allow them to walk from the street to their homes in safety.”