FLOODS: Villagers race to get sandbags in position

Oxford Mail: Richard Winslet places sandbags at Bridge End, Dorchester   Pictures: OX55866 and OX55891,  Ric Mellis, Oliver Evans, Damian Halliwell Buy this photo » Richard Winslet places sandbags at Bridge End, Dorchester Pictures: OX55866 and OX55891, Ric Mellis, Oliver Evans, Damian Halliwell

SCORES of sandbags were delivered to villagers yesterday as the threat of flooding hit more rural parts of Oxfordshire.

About 150 sandbags were sent to villagers in Dorchester-on-Thames after residents were told flooding was expected.

Father-of-three Chris Hill, 66, a retired communications engineer, lives with wife Sheila, 65, in their 18th century cottage in Bridge End, Dorchester. He is in charge of preparing the village’s emergency plan, and said the Thames tributary, the River Thame, could flood.

He added: “The Environment Agency has told us that about 20 homes in the village could be flooded. Some gardens in the area have flooded but fortunately so far no homes have been affected.

“Some properties were flooded in 2003 and since then residents have taken steps to prevent flooding, including raising floor levels.”

Retired chartered accountant Richard Winslet, also of Bridge End, took seven sandbags for his daughter – and neighbour – Rachel Morris.

He said: “The Thame is running very high and at the moment it can’t escape into the Thames because the Thames is too full.”

Wallingford county councillor Lynda Atkins last night said no homes had flooded.

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The River Thames from Days Lock at Little Wittenham, and South Stoke was on flood warning yesterday, indicating flooding is expected and immediate action is necessary.

While homes in Dorchester, Shillingford, Benson, Wallingford, North Stoke and Moulsford were on flood warning, the Thames and its tributaries from Days Lock to above Pangbourne were on flood alert, which indicates that residents should be prepared, as flooding was possible.

In Abingdon, the Vale of White Horse District Council closed the low-lying Rye Farm and Hales Meadow car parks which were flooded, and motorists were told to move their vehicles to the multi-storey, where their tickets would be valid.

A fallen tree near Clifton Hampden caused the closure of the road from Abingdon to Little Wittenham.

Gavin Walton, a spokesman for South Oxfordshire and Vale councils, said: “We have been working in partnership with other agencies to coordinate efforts, including helping to promote the flood alert system.”

Oxfordshire County Council said five homes flooded in Dog Close, Adderbury, near Banbury. Adderbury Parish Council chairman Diane Bratt said: “It is not as bad as some of the flooding we had in 2007 but it is very unfortunate for those houses and properties flooded.”

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