FLOOD-HIT Oxford residents yesterday got their first chance to say exactly what they think of the city’s proposed £120m flood alleviation channel to the people designing it.

Homeowners have told Environment Agency (EA) officers how their homes have flooded and when, in the hope that the scheme can be modified to help keep their homes dry.

At the moment, the design of the channel is still flexible, and the EA is hoping to make it as effective as is feasible for as many people as possible when work starts in 2018.

Yesterday’s drop-in workshop, the first of five, was held at Kennington Village Centre from 2.30-7.30pm.

Geoff Hayles, who lives on Harley Road off Botley Road, was left slightly isolated when Botley Road flooded for days on end last February.

He said: “I came down because I wanted to find out if it is going to do the job, what the chances are of it going through and when it is likely to be finished.”

After speaking to EA representatives, he said: “The more I hear about this scheme the more I like it – anything that is going to alleviate flooding is a very good idea.”

Kennington resident John Mastroddi, a member of Oxford Flood Alliance, said he was hopeful the scheme could protect the village from flooding completely.

The proposed five-metre wide channel would run from just north of Botley Road to somewhere near Sandford on Thames and carry overflow water from the Thames around Oxford, reducing the risk of the water flooding city roads.

A 50m-wide area around the channel planted with marsh plants such as reeds will take even more water.

The EA’s flood risk management team leader Peter Collins said yesterday: “This has been a really good public event in a good location.

“We want to speak to residents and learn about their experiences.

“One lady I was speaking to from Kennington explained how one year water came up from the ground but the next time she flooded it came overland.

“The more people we speak to, the more chance we have to make the model the best it can be.”

The next workshops, all from 2.30-7.30pm, will be held at the following places:
* Thursday – Abingdon Guildhall, OX14 3HL;
* Friday – West Oxford Community Centre, OX2 0BT;
* Tuesday, June 30 – Oxford Town Hall, OX1 1BX; and
* Friday, July 3 – South Oxford Community Centre, OX1 4RP.