Deepening: Rising water levels put more homes at risk of flood damage

The Oxford Times: John Mastroddi, 64, helped his fellow residents in Kennington by installing water pumps at the end of his garden to pump water away from the houses. John Mastroddi, 64, helped his fellow residents in Kennington by installing water pumps at the end of his garden to pump water away from the houses.

HOUSEholders were last night working tirelessly to pump out water from their properties after flood waters kept rising.

While water swamped some homes around Oxford’s Botley Road on a day when river levels again rose, many others were trying to stop water from bursting through to their properties.

The Oxford Times:

Botley Road, yesterday.

Pumps were in place at Bullstake Close to protect residents’ homes, with water being diverted into Botley Road and Marsh Road.

River levels are expected to peak today – but with more rain on the way, it is unclear how long it could be before Botley Road and Abingdon Road could reopen.

Roughly 200 residents on Bullstake Close, Osney Court, Duke Street and Earl Street have been warned flood water could come into their homes and have been advised to find alternative accommodation.

Gerrit Groenewold , 55, had to move out of his bungalow in Bullstake Close two days ago.

The Oxford Times:

Gerrit Groenewold

He has been staying with friends in Mill Lane.

Mr Groenewold said: “The water got to about three or four inches high in my house and has flooded the whole of the downstairs. I haven’t thought about the cost yet, but I am disappointed as I only moved in two years ago. I don’t know what help I will get now and that’s a worry.”

But many residents were determined to tough it out, despite flood water creeping into their houses.

And Oxford City Council said only five people had decided to leave their properties.

Earl Street resident Andy Webber said: “The police came round last night and told us to prepare for evacuation, but people haven’t left their houses.

The Oxford Times:

Andy Webber

“We are trying to stick it out and summon up the Dunkirk Spirit. I’ve had some flood water in my bathroom.

“But we can’t go on like this. Something has to be done to stop this from happening again.”

Osney Court resident James Jefferson, who lives with wife Sandra, said they were staying at home after declining the offer to stay in a B&B or hotel.

Residents in Osney Court were offered alternative accommodation by housing association Home Group, but many refused as they said they did not accept pets.

Mr Jefferson, 52, who has a cat, said: “It’s a problem to get in and out and it’s well above the knees.

“A few people have left, but the vast majority have stayed put. Many people have pets, which they wouldn’t accommodate.”

Wayne Davies, from Home Group, said: “None of our properties in Osney Court have flooded but surrounding water does mean customers need wellies to get to and from their homes.”

Binsey Lane, off Botley Road, was also flooded and yesterday morning a fire engine and eight firefighters were called out after power went out on one half of the lane.

Kidlington-based fire and rescue station manager Julian Green said: “We were called to Binsey Lane because the power went down because of the floods.

“Water got into the electrics and so we carried out a life safety assessment to see how we could assist residents in case we needed to evacuate them to the county council emergency centres or other accommodation.”
On Osney Island, residents were also battling to prevent flooding in their houses.

Paul Bennett, 53, of South Street, rushed back from London yesterday morning because he was worried about the situation.
Flood water has crept into his kitchen, living room and landing.

He said: “It has come up through the ground and we are now pumping the water out.”

The flooding chaos in Botley Road has also hit businesses.

Lisa Rowles, manager of Classique hair salon, said: “We have had lots of people cancelling and many more who weren’t able to come in because of the flooding.

“We would normally have had about 15 people by 3pm, but we’ve only had two.”

Bill Thompson, manager of Cartridge UK, said: “We only had one customer by 2.30pm, so we shut early.

“We didn’t even open on Wednesday. We also haven’t been able to get deliveries.

“I think we’ve lost about £2,000 as a result of it, but if it goes on any longer it will be even more.”

BE PREPARED

IF you are at risk of flooding:

  • Fit flood boards on doors, use sandbags, and fit toilet bungs on downstairs toilets
  • Put plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down with a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with soil
  • Switch off water, gas and electricity at the mains when water is about to enter your home
  • Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in water
  • Disconnect equipment that uses water, like washing machines and dishwashers
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood water
  •  The latest advice and details of flood alerts and warnings are available at environment-agency.gov.uk or call 0845 988 1188

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