FLOODS: Neighbours trapped as busy road is engulfed

DEEP water closed Abingdon Road and trapped residents indoors in what locals say was the worst flooding they’ve seen.

The busy route into Oxford was one of the most seriously affected areas yesterday, with up to 10 inches of water forcing Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to erect barriers between Lincoln Road and Bertie Place.

Sandbags were piled in driveways and stranded cars were towed to safety, as dozens of people were trapped inside their homes and forced to wait for the flooding to drain away.

And despite pumping since 5am, firefighters said the water level continued to rise until around midday.

Paul Ludlum, 48, is manager of the National Tyres and Autocare branch on the road and said he thought the flooding was even worse than five years ago.

“It’s been a nightmare,” he said. “No one can get to us.

“It was definitely worse than last time because it rose more quickly and was deeper than in 2007. I feel very sorry for all the residents.”

Erika Perger, 31, said she and her housemates had to pack their doorway with sandbags to stop the water rushing in. She said: “We have no power, no gas and we can’t use the toilet.

“Our house has become impossible to live in and we don’t even have wellies. We’ve had to use black bags.”

Alan Butler, 70, said the water had risen during the night and when he woke up he was trapped inside his house.

“We’ve had to cross our fingers and hope it doesn’t rise higher,” he said. “I don’t think there was sufficient warning to be honest.”

A spokesman for the government’s Environment Agency said the main reason for the flooding in the road, which was also badly affected in 2007, was its proximity to the River Thames.

She said: “Abingdon Road is low-lying and on a flood plain, with all the water flowing into the Thames from its tributaries it has burst its bank, flowed into the flood plain and across the road.”

The water did not seriously flood homes in Abingdon Road, but ground water did pour into basements in nearby Western Road, causing hundreds of pounds of damage.

Catherine King, 47, said: “My basement was full of storage, mostly plastic boxes full of stuff which have now been emptied out by the water. It rose so quickly. But I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done to stop it.”

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price also lives in Western Road but wasn’t affected by the flooding.

“I’m not sure there’s much we can do about the ground water,” he said. “But we could build a metal barrier behind the allotments to try to stop this happening to Abingdon Road again. I’m going to speak to the Environment Agency about it.”

  • FLOODING IN BRIEF
  • N OXON: Old Prebendal Nursing Home in Shipton-under-Wychwood has reopened. All 33 residents, some in their 90s, were evacuated on Thursday night following fears the home would flood as heavy rainfall battered the county. They returned to the home yesterday afternoon.
  • OXFORD: Oxford City’s FA trophy match against Bishop’s Stortford was called off yesterday  because of flooding. The game was due to be played last night at the club’s Court Place Farm ground in Marsh Lane, Marston, but was cancelled at lunchtime.
  • ABINGDON: Abingdon Vale Cricket Club has cancelled its AGM because of flooding. The club was due to hold the meeting tomorrow in Culham Road.
  • OXFORD: Several events due to be held at Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre in the coming days have been cancelled as it provides a refuge for those affected by flooding in Oxford. This action has been implemented as part of the Oxford City Council emergency action plan. The first evacuees arrived at the centre yesterday.

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