THEY had to be rescued from their homes on Christmas Eve as the River Bure burst its banks.

But this week many residents who live in Hanover Gardens off Manorsfield Road, Bicester, are still unable to get back into their apartments.

Hanover Housing has said work to repair the flats at the sheltered housing complex may not start for another six to eight weeks.

As a result many have had to live in temporary accommodation or with relatives.

This week, the level of the River Bure has risen as a result of heavy rainfall but nowhere near the height it reached on December 24.

Warden Dave Smith said residents were keen to get home, but he said: “The flats have got to be dried out and that’s not an easy thing to do.”

A spokesman for Hanover said: “The drying out process at Hanover Gardens is likely to take at least six to eight weeks after which our contractors will be able to start remedial works in residents’ flats.

Oxford Mail:

  • Firefighters at the flooded Hanover Housing Association flats

“Moisture levels in residents’ homes are being monitored regularly so we are able to see progress on drying out the buildings. A deep clean will also be carried out in all areas affected by flooding.”

The cost of the damage is not yet known.


Oxford Mail:

Joyce Ricketts, 80, above, who lives in a first floor flat, said: “It hasn’t affected me as much as the people downstairs.

“The main lounge is open for us to sit and wait while the laundry is being done but we are not able to use it for functions.

“There are no carpets and all the skirting board has been ripped off. They’ve had blowers on day and night since. It’s all a mess.”

The Environment Agency has said it is compiling a “flood event report” including the issues in Bicester and said it would be investigating the flooding and identifying what could be done to prevent it from happening again.

A spokesman said: “We are working closely with our professional partners to support the communities that have been affected by flooding in Bicester and elsewhere over the Christmas period.

“We were aware of an issue at Manorsfield Road in Bicester, and our incident response team worked to clear the blocked culvert at the time.”

James Porter, Conservative leader at Bicester Town Council, said it was offering assistance and support to staff and residents at the sheltered housing site.

He said: ”It is disappointing in one sense that residents can’t move back into their homes. It’s still being dried out. I know an awful lot of work is going on to try and get it up to standard.”