FUNDING has been secured for a flood relief scheme to protect Osney Mead industrial estate, the location for major Oxford University development plans.

Last month it emerged that the cost of Oxford’s flood alleviation scheme has soared from about £120m to £150m.

The Environment Agency, which is leading the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, has confirmed the cost of constructing the ‘channel’ has increased significantly to £150m.

The EA has also confirmed that extra funding - up to £4.5m - is being set aside to protect the busy industrial estate off Botley Road in West Oxford.

The Oxford Times:

Flooding on Botley Roadm near to the industrial estate entrance 

County council staff staged a flood forum in Osney Mead in 2014 after the area was badly affected by flooding.

An EA spokesman said: “In addition to the main scheme, a local choice has been made by the project partners to include additional flood defences at Osney Mead industrial estate, within the scheme area.

“This work will be separate to the main scheme and is not included in the scheme costs. They have been costed at a maximum of £4.5m.”

The £150m flood alleviation scheme will be approximately 5km long and will run through the existing floodplain from just north of Botley Road down to south of the A423 southern bypass near Kennington, where it re-joins the River Thames.

The planning application for the flood ‘channel’ was submitted to Oxfordshire County Council last year and public consultation is expected to conclude on January 22.

The scheme will take three or four years to complete.

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The EA is hoping that a final planning decision will be reached in early 2019.

It added earlier: “Oxford has the second-fastest growing economy of all UK cities and the scheme will keep Oxford open for business and allow the successful economy to thrive.”

The Oxford Times:

Oxford University is one of the principal landowners of the industrial estate and in 2016 it announced a £600m masterplan for the 1960s site, to unlock its potential and bring economic benefits to the city. The university wants to revamp the area into a site featuring laboratories for scientists alongside small and large businesses who can spin out their ideas into new companies.

More than 600 homes for graduates and staff are also planned and the university envisages transforming Osney Mead into ‘a pleasant waterside location, with new publicly accessible outdoor spaces, and reduced risk of flooding’.

The university’s website says: “We held a public consultation event in July 2016 to ask residents and stakeholders to identify key issues that need to be addressed in taking the proposals forward. We are working with the Environment Agency to reduce the flood risk in the area. We are also working with other partners, including Oxford city and county councils, Oxford West End Developments and Network Rail, to improve access from the east of the site.”

The county council said there had been 55 objections to the £150m flood scheme. The EA said some compulsory purchase order letters had been sent to landowners.