9:00pm Tuesday 15th April 2014
By Pete Hughes
A RING of concrete blocks put around South Hinksey to protect against February’s floods will be removed next week.
The Environment Agency put up 600 metres of barriers after 18 of the village’s 80 homes flooded in January.
The 2.5 tonne blocks – comprising 300 tonnes of sand – were placed on fields around the village from behind the General Elliot pub to Barleycott Lane.
The Environment Agency said contractors Galliford Try will begin to remove the barriers from next Saturday, April 26. It should take about a week.
It said it did not expect to have to shut any roads or paths.
South Hinksey Parish Council chairwoman Maggie Rawcliffe said villagers would be able to cope with the inconvenience.
She said: “It is going to be slightly inconvenient, but the village managed when it was put up in a real hurry. I think with warning, people can work around it.
“It is a price worth paying, and it isn’t going to drag on for weeks.”
The barriers were installed by 80 soldiers from 32 Brigade Support Squadron, 3 Close Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps from Dalton Barracks, Abingdon.
They were greeted enthusiastically by residents as they arrived following the massive floodwaters that paralysed parts of the city in January.
Mrs Rawcliffe said: “It won’t be nearly as exciting for residents.”
Environment Agency spokeswoman Cheryl Walmsley said: “We will start to dismantle the barriers on Saturday, April 26, and work is expected to take approximately one week to complete.”
Villager Adrian Porter said most residents wanted a £125m Western Conveyance flood channel. This would take excess flood water from West to South Oxford around the city.
Mr Porter, a self-styled village flood warden, said: “We are relying on our own protection now. The permanent solution we want is the Western Conveyance and we are keen to get that put in place for the whole of Oxford.
“The South Hinksey barrier was only ever supposed to be a temporary solution.”
At a flood summit in Oxford on March 21, councils, utility companies and government bodies agreed to work together to fund the four-mile long channel from Seacourt Stream in Botley to Sandford Lock south of Oxford.
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