'We should be using the A34 as the Oxford Thames Flood Barrier'

The Oxford Times: Tom Ballance Tom Ballance

THE A34 could be used as a dam to solve Oxford’s flooding problems, it has been claimed.

Tom Ballance, 56, said the road – which is raised above the floodplains – could be used as a dam by installing sluice gates underneath.

The ex-farmer and boatyard manager, from Binsey, claims his plan could solve serious flooding in Binsey, Botley and Osney for about £500,000.

Mr Ballance, pictured, a stand-up paddle-boarder and instructor, said: “I call it the Oxford Thames Flood Barrier because that is what it could be, but they are not using it.

“What other city or town on the Thames can say they have a flood barrier?

“The Environment Agency (EA) has ignored the A34. It is staggering. I’m speechless.”

Mr Ballance, who previously worked at Medley Manor Farm in Medley, Manor Farm in Binsey and University Farm near Whytham, said building sluice gates into four channels that flow underneath the A34, between Wolvercote and Botley, would mean the water levels in the floodplain around Wytham could be controlled.

He said the EA would then need to carry out flood protection work to about five houses in Wytham and homes in Wolvercote.

As well as the A34 work, Mr Ballance said a causeway that runs along the Thames by Port Meadow needs repairing at Godstow Lock because floodwater is being let through.

Meanwhile the bridges under Botley Road need clearing of silt and foliage.

Mr Ballance, who managed the Bossons boatyard in Binsey Lane between 1981 and 2004, added: “My three point plan plan is based on 10 years of observation and a lifetime of experience.”

He meets Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood next Friday to discuss his plans.

But chairman of Oxford Flood Alliance Peter Rawcliffe said work needs to concentrate on the flooding pinch-point around Sandford Lock, Kennington.

Comments (11)

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11:09am Tue 21 Jan 14

hammerthebarstewards says...

Just dredge the rivers, streams and all free flowing waterways, clean out ditches, drains and gulleys. Pay for it by clawing back some of the £Billions we give to the EU and create hundreds of jobs!
Just dredge the rivers, streams and all free flowing waterways, clean out ditches, drains and gulleys. Pay for it by clawing back some of the £Billions we give to the EU and create hundreds of jobs! hammerthebarstewards
  • Score: -218

1:03pm Tue 21 Jan 14

train passenger says...

hammerthebarstewards wrote:
Just dredge the rivers, streams and all free flowing waterways, clean out ditches, drains and gulleys. Pay for it by clawing back some of the £Billions we give to the EU and create hundreds of jobs!
The UK's net contribution to the EU is about 4 Billion. Spending on the NHS in England alone is over 100 Billion. So we should be discussing NHS spending 25 times as often as EU spending.......
[quote][p][bold]hammerthebarstewards[/bold] wrote: Just dredge the rivers, streams and all free flowing waterways, clean out ditches, drains and gulleys. Pay for it by clawing back some of the £Billions we give to the EU and create hundreds of jobs![/p][/quote]The UK's net contribution to the EU is about 4 Billion. Spending on the NHS in England alone is over 100 Billion. So we should be discussing NHS spending 25 times as often as EU spending....... train passenger
  • Score: -72

4:20pm Tue 21 Jan 14

dave from witney says...

train passenger wrote:
hammerthebarstewards wrote:
Just dredge the rivers, streams and all free flowing waterways, clean out ditches, drains and gulleys. Pay for it by clawing back some of the £Billions we give to the EU and create hundreds of jobs!
The UK's net contribution to the EU is about 4 Billion. Spending on the NHS in England alone is over 100 Billion. So we should be discussing NHS spending 25 times as often as EU spending.......
What you are ignoring is the fact that the NHS is essential to the country, whereas belonging to the EU is not.
[quote][p][bold]train passenger[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]hammerthebarstewards[/bold] wrote: Just dredge the rivers, streams and all free flowing waterways, clean out ditches, drains and gulleys. Pay for it by clawing back some of the £Billions we give to the EU and create hundreds of jobs![/p][/quote]The UK's net contribution to the EU is about 4 Billion. Spending on the NHS in England alone is over 100 Billion. So we should be discussing NHS spending 25 times as often as EU spending.......[/p][/quote]What you are ignoring is the fact that the NHS is essential to the country, whereas belonging to the EU is not. dave from witney
  • Score: -86

8:26pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Richard Wickson says...

I totally agree with Mr. Ballance, it is an idea that has a lot of merit and could work, it would also ease flooding further down towards South Hinksey and Kennington especially if as he says, The rRiver Thames and it's streams were dredged underneath the Bridges along the Botley Road . They used to be when I was a boy growing up there in the 50's and 60's and the stream that flows underneath the George Bridge, the old County Boundary, was deeper and wider right along its length thru North Hinksey village. All of the tributaries around that area aren't as deep and as wide as they once were and cannot handle the amount of water they previously could. Surely it wouldn't take a huge amount to alleviate the flood problem on the Botley and Abingdon Roads. I note there wasn't much aggravation caused to the University otherwise they would be at the forefront of plans but as they didn't suffer much hardship don't give a ****. Gown versus Town yet again!
I totally agree with Mr. Ballance, it is an idea that has a lot of merit and could work, it would also ease flooding further down towards South Hinksey and Kennington especially if as he says, The rRiver Thames and it's streams were dredged underneath the Bridges along the Botley Road . They used to be when I was a boy growing up there in the 50's and 60's and the stream that flows underneath the George Bridge, the old County Boundary, was deeper and wider right along its length thru North Hinksey village. All of the tributaries around that area aren't as deep and as wide as they once were and cannot handle the amount of water they previously could. Surely it wouldn't take a huge amount to alleviate the flood problem on the Botley and Abingdon Roads. I note there wasn't much aggravation caused to the University otherwise they would be at the forefront of plans but as they didn't suffer much hardship don't give a ****. Gown versus Town yet again! Richard Wickson
  • Score: -90

8:41pm Tue 21 Jan 14

faatmaan says...

and who inherits the water that is stopped by this scheme, it does not just disappear, or is it somebody elsewhere problem, basically a game of passing the problem on.
and who inherits the water that is stopped by this scheme, it does not just disappear, or is it somebody elsewhere problem, basically a game of passing the problem on. faatmaan
  • Score: -74

9:59pm Tue 21 Jan 14

the wizard says...

On the face of things as presented by Mr Ballance it all seems to be a good idea. It comes to something when a member of the public has to forward a tangible plan in front of all the relevant agencies and authorities. It seems workable at a cost which seems to be acceptable. The very least the interested parties could do is investigate it further and maybe add a tweek or two should it be necessary to safe guard things like embankments etc to prevent slippage through saturation. A BiG "well done" to Mr Ballance for at least nurturing a plausible solution.
On the face of things as presented by Mr Ballance it all seems to be a good idea. It comes to something when a member of the public has to forward a tangible plan in front of all the relevant agencies and authorities. It seems workable at a cost which seems to be acceptable. The very least the interested parties could do is investigate it further and maybe add a tweek or two should it be necessary to safe guard things like embankments etc to prevent slippage through saturation. A BiG "well done" to Mr Ballance for at least nurturing a plausible solution. the wizard
  • Score: -52

11:59am Wed 22 Jan 14

patjay says...

Mr Ballance, by virtue of his experience and local knowledge, is well-versed to make logical conclusions, a case of listening at grass roots level, or in this case waterways level. An example that should
be taken across the board by the powers that be within this City on many aspects. Consideration and power to the people who live and work in this city would not go amiss
Mr Ballance, by virtue of his experience and local knowledge, is well-versed to make logical conclusions, a case of listening at grass roots level, or in this case waterways level. An example that should be taken across the board by the powers that be within this City on many aspects. Consideration and power to the people who live and work in this city would not go amiss patjay
  • Score: -54

1:14pm Wed 22 Jan 14

herrison says...

An area equivalent to 100 football pitches, flooded ankle deep, would weigh 100,000 tonnes. I suspect that the structure might have an issue with the consequent lateral stress.
An area equivalent to 100 football pitches, flooded ankle deep, would weigh 100,000 tonnes. I suspect that the structure might have an issue with the consequent lateral stress. herrison
  • Score: -78

3:21pm Wed 22 Jan 14

The Foxy Lady says...

Im sure he was my maths teacher. Besides that absolutely brilliant plan.
Im sure he was my maths teacher. Besides that absolutely brilliant plan. The Foxy Lady
  • Score: -51

6:13pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Big AC says...

herrison wrote:
An area equivalent to 100 football pitches, flooded ankle deep, would weigh 100,000 tonnes. I suspect that the structure might have an issue with the consequent lateral stress.
The area has no bearing on the lateral stress.
[quote][p][bold]herrison[/bold] wrote: An area equivalent to 100 football pitches, flooded ankle deep, would weigh 100,000 tonnes. I suspect that the structure might have an issue with the consequent lateral stress.[/p][/quote]The area has no bearing on the lateral stress. Big AC
  • Score: 3

6:14pm Tue 28 Jan 14

onemorething says...

Big AC wrote:
herrison wrote:
An area equivalent to 100 football pitches, flooded ankle deep, would weigh 100,000 tonnes. I suspect that the structure might have an issue with the consequent lateral stress.
The area has no bearing on the lateral stress.
A barrier tends to shift flooding to areas further upstream. Dredging and deepening channels tends to move flooding to areas downstream. Managing waterflows is not straightforward.
There may be some value in exploring ways of making the upper catchment areas more 'sponge-like', planting forests and re-introducing beavers on farmland that is currently subsidised (via the EU, as it happens).
As long as we push more CO2 into the atmosphere, and increase the rate of climate change, we are going to have to spend a lot more on dealing with extreme weather events. We need longterm solutions.
[quote][p][bold]Big AC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]herrison[/bold] wrote: An area equivalent to 100 football pitches, flooded ankle deep, would weigh 100,000 tonnes. I suspect that the structure might have an issue with the consequent lateral stress.[/p][/quote]The area has no bearing on the lateral stress.[/p][/quote]A barrier tends to shift flooding to areas further upstream. Dredging and deepening channels tends to move flooding to areas downstream. Managing waterflows is not straightforward. There may be some value in exploring ways of making the upper catchment areas more 'sponge-like', planting forests and re-introducing beavers on farmland that is currently subsidised (via the EU, as it happens). As long as we push more CO2 into the atmosphere, and increase the rate of climate change, we are going to have to spend a lot more on dealing with extreme weather events. We need longterm solutions. onemorething
  • Score: 0

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