ENVIRONMENT bosses say an “ambitious” plan is needed to ensure developments in North Oxford do not cause more flooding.

The Environment Agency is in talks with Oxford City Council about the Northern Gateway development after recent flooding sparked concerns among Wolvercote residents.

Parts of the village were flooded in recent rain and there are now concerns that two big developments could make matters worse.

These are the Northern Gateway between the A40, A34 and A44 and north of the Wolvercote roundabout and south of the A40. The 100-acre city council scheme will create 3,000 jobs at new business premises and 200 homes.

And Oxford University wants to build 190 homes in Mill Road, Wolvercote, on the site of the old paper mill demolished in 2004.

Agency spokesman Jo Slimin said flood risk at the Northern Gateway is currently “low”.

She said: “We feel that the Northern Gateway planning documents should have a clear commitment to a sustainable urban drainage scheme that does not increase surface water flood risk and ideally one that reduces surface water flood risk on and off site.

“We continue to be in discussions with Oxford City Council and the developers in overcoming our flood risk concerns.”

It has objected to a planning application for the paper mill, for which the city council has yet to make a decision.

Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum chairman John Bleach said: “Everybody knows that there is a risk these developments could make matters worse.

“Flooding is an important issue in relation to these two developments, particularly the paper mill site.

“If water isn’t able to drain away from the hard surfaces which are created then it has got to go somewhere. This is one of our chief concerns.”

University spokesman Jonathan Wood said: “We recognise residents’ understandable concerns and we will continue to work with the Environment Agency on our planning submission.

“We would want to take necessary advice and put mitigation in place.”

City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We take all reasonable steps to ensure that no new development is granted permission which might increase the risk of flooding.”

She said “detailed” assessments had been made for the paper mill site and more will be carried out for the Northern Gateway.