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‘The water is rising and we just have to sit and watch it’
ELDERLY people were struggling to get hold of sandbags, it was claimed yesterday as homes, gardens and roads flooded across the county.
Grandmother-of-11 Jayne Madden, 55, said she was worried about her neighbours in Weirs Lane, South Oxford, not having access to sandbags and not being able to get to the collection points.
Jayne Madden with her flooded garden in Weirs Lane
Mrs Madden, who does not drive, said sandbags were usually left on her road adding: “The city council only left about six sandbags, it is disgusting.
“There are old age pensioners here and they haven’t got a car.
“The water is rising and we just have to sit and watch it.”
Around 3,500 sandbags had been dropped off at various collection points across the county including the Seacourt and Redbridge Park and Ride sites in Oxford, the Duke of Monmouth pub in Abingdon Road and Dog Close in Adderbury.
West Oxfordshire District Council gave out 1,500 sandbags to a number of locations including Charlbury Bowls Club, Northmoor village hall and the district council depot in Chipping Norton.
And last night Louisa Dean, a spokeswoman for Oxford City Council, said: “Officers can assist vulnerable people whose properties are at risk of flooding by delivering sandbags.
“The situation is changeable and we are monitoring the water levels 24 hours a day. If people are concerned they should contact us on 01865 249811 and our customer service staff will be able to help.”
Alan Clapton, 83, whose garden in Weirs Lane, Oxford, is flooded, said: “It’s not as bad as last time. But we don’t know how much rain we are going to have.”
Great-grandmother-of-16 Sybil Berry, could see a canal boat at the bottom of her garden. The 81-year-old said: “It is surprising how quick the water comes up.”
The flood defences at Hinksey Lake and Kennington Lake were put up yesterday and floodwater was being kept at bay by defences in Bullstake Close, West Oxford, but residents were concerned as their car parks were flooded.
Andrew Ivett, of Earl Street, West Oxford, had his kitchen flooded yesterday morning. His house was also flooded in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
The 61-year-old said: “When it floods, the water seeps into my kitchen.
“I have no idea about the cost at the moment, but I suppose I am getting quite used to it.”
There were also reports yesterday of flooding in Witney, Islip, Challow, Clifton Hampden to Long Wittenham and Ascott-under-Wychwood, with fears it may increase with more rainfall predicted.
The Witney Glass company in West End, Witney, opened yesterday for the first day since the Christmas break, but workers spent the whole day cleaning up.
Partner Michael Lally said: “We are still expecting more water and so we are on tenterhooks at the moment.”
When asked about the potential cost in damage to the business, Mr Lally said it was “impossible” to say, but that his insurance had risen to £5,000 since the floods in November 2012.
Pat Dingle, 69, from Bridge Street, said: “When it gets like this it’s a great worry and you just think ‘here we go again’.”
Even Prime Minister David Cameron was not spared from the flooding.
Mr Cameron said the damage wrought by the bad weather at his home in the hamlet of Dean, near Chipping Norton, had resulted in a leak and a power cut.
Worst is yet to come
THE worst could be yet to come as rivers are expected to continue to rise today and tomorrow.
The number of flood warnings yesterday jumped from four to 10 across Oxfordshire.
Properties in Folly Bridge, Oxford, Red Bridge Hollow, off Abingdon Road, and Earl Street, West Oxford, were flooded along with reports elsewhere across the county including in West Oxfordshire.
On Sunday two homes in Adderbury, near Banbury, were the first to flood.
Environment Agency spokesman Narinder Sokhi said: “River levels are high throughout Oxfordshire and we expect that they will continue to rise over the next couple of days. There is a risk of flooding and we urge people to listen out for our flood alerts and warnings and take the necessary action.
“We have deployed our temporary defences at Osney Island in Oxford.
“The Vicarage Road temporary defences in Oxford do not yet need to be deployed. We continue to closely monitor levels in the Vicarage Road and have the demountables ready if needed.”
The Met Office has said 6.2mm of rain fell in Brize Norton and 5.6mm in Benson on Sunday.
Their forecast predicts showers with some bright spells today.