Receding waters raise hope of return to normal service

Oxford Mail: John Brooks, left, in dark blue of Isis Creative Framing in Northampton Road, Oxford, decided to have a bit of fun in the floodwater on the Abingdon Road with a remote-control Varsity Boat Race Picture: OX64574 Jon Lewis Buy this photo » John Brooks, left, in dark blue of Isis Creative Framing in Northampton Road, Oxford, decided to have a bit of fun in the floodwater on the Abingdon Road with a remote-control Varsity Boat Race Picture: OX64574 Jon Lewis

THE county is holding its breath that flood waters will begin to recede over the coming days so that business can return to normal.

But the Environment Agency is warning that flooding is expected in Oxfordshire – especially in the south – over the weekend.

Oxford’s Botley Road and Abingdon Road remained closed yesterday and the county council said it would continue to monitor the situation today and tomorrow to see if they can reopen.

Some rain is predicted in the county tomorrow night and at the beginning of the week.

The impact the floods has had on businesses across the city and the rest of the county may not be fully realised for some time.

But Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said repeated floods in the city were hurting companies.

He said: “There certainly will be an impact on businesses. It won’t be big in the millions but it will be up there.

“We will be writing to the Prime Minister early next week to make the point that the more frequently this happens it will affect businesses immediately and will make the area less attractive to new businesses wanting to come here.”

Graham Jones, of traders’ group ROX, said the floods had devastated the local economy, adding: “I really hope things start to pick up this weekend and into next week.

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“Obviously businesses on Botley Road and Abingdon Road will have been affected, but fewer people will be heading into the city centre with those road closures.”

City council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said bin collections at about 800 houses in the city had been affected by the flooding.

About 20 streets, including Weirs Lane, Chatham Road, Monmouth Road, Ferry Hinksey Road, Lamarsh Road and Earl Street, were unable to have their waste collected yesterday.

She said: “In some instances, residents were putting their bins at points where our crews could collect. Weather permitting, we hope to collect the remaining recycling and waste on Monday.

“If the situation remains as it is, we will carry on with our collections as normal on Tuesday.

Environment Agency spokeswoman Ash Dobson said: “River levels in Oxford have stabilised and with only a small amount of rainfall expected over the next few days, we anticipate they will start to drop slowly, but remain high for some time.

“The demountable defences we have installed in Vicarage Road and on Osney Island will remain in place as long as they are needed.”

s Tributaries of the River Ray from Shipton Lee to Islip, including Ludgershall, Blackthorn and Murcott, remained on flood alert yesterday.

Areas such as Marston, near the River Cherwell, also remained on flood alert.

Water levels are still high and floodplains were full across large areas but flood warnings for Langford and Wendlebury Brooks and their tributaries, affecting Merton, Bicester and Wendlebury, are no longer in force.

In Islip, Lower Road and Mill Road were closed because of flooding, with Kings Head Lane the main route through the village, under traffic signal control.

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