Flood-hit South Hinksey residents receive apology from Thames Water

Adrian Porter and son Rowan, four, with residents of Manor Road, South Hinksey, who are taking on Thames Water over their response to flooding in the village

Adrian Porter and son Rowan, four, with residents of Manor Road, South Hinksey, who are taking on Thames Water over their response to flooding in the village

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter. Call me on (01865) 425373

FLOOD-HIT residents in South Hinksey have received an apology from Thames Water.

But the unhappy homeowners are urging the company to follow through on its promises and take action.

A dozen properties in the area were flooded and affected with sewage following the downpours which hit Oxford and the surrounding areas on Tuesday, November 27.

Anna Lamb, 37, was among the Manor Road residents who complained after her property was affected by flood water and sewage. She cut a hole in her living room floorboards to find effluent underneath after the week-long heavy downpours at the end of November. South Hinksey residents also suffered the same problems in 2007.

At a public meeting on Friday they outlined the main areas where they believed the water firm, and other authorities, failed during the most recent flooding. These included the storm pumps at Littlemore not being manned; sewage rising out of drains; a lack of sandbags and poor communication during the flooding; and an inadequate clean-up job afterwards.

The meeting was attended by Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, members of Oxfordshire County Council and Vale of White Horse District Council, as well as staff from Thames Water and the Environment Agency.

Thames Water has repeatedly denied its Botley sewer repair work was at fault and said the volume of rainfall was too much for its systems to cope with.

But now the company says it will take steps to address concerns and is considering spending £1.2m to upgrade Littlemore pumping station.

One of the meeting’s organisers, Manor Road resident Adrian Porter, said: “They brought five people to the meeting and acknowledged that they did not do a good job – we received a direct apology from Thames Water.

“That is not something we have had before, so that is a step forward. They said they will look into interim measures to prevent that situation affecting residents again.

“Now we’ve heard what they have to say, we need action. It has taken five years to get this far.”

South Hinksey Parish Council chairman Maggie Rawcliffe chaired the meeting and said she hoped Thames Water would now take action.

She said: “One of the main things to come out of the meeting was that a steering group needs to be formed to make a parish emergency plan to cover flooding and other threats. Arrangements to start this plan are already taking place with help from the county council and Environment Agency.”

Speaking after the meeting, a spokesman for Thames Water said: “We’re very sorry for the disruption that this flooding caused. “Since this incident we have installed an automatic control system which will operate our sewage pumping station at Littlemore, without needing an engineer to be present. We are continuing to look at ways of improving our network in the area.”

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