HOUSEHOLDS in one of Oxford’s worst-hit flooding areas said they were positive about the progress of a proposed £120m relief channel as consultations continue this week.

The Environment Agency (EA) with the help of councils and other partners wants to construct a four-mile channel from Seacourt Park and Ride to the River Thames at Sandford Lock.

The EA’s flood risk management team leader Peter Collins said the public’s views at a number of drop-in sessions were helping to shape the scheme.

The first workshop took place on Friday at West Oxford Community Centre. Further sessions are planned today at the Town Hall in St Aldate’s, and on Friday at South Oxford Community Centre in Lake Street, both at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Mr Collins said: “We know where it will start and finish and we know that Redbridge Park and Ride is a constraint and that we need to move water across the flood plain away from Oxford.

“Apart from that, we want people’s opinions to model the channel and where it goes.”

John Puglisi and his wife Lesley, originally from Australia, bought a house in flood-hit Earl Street, West Oxford, in 2013.

The couple’s tenants battled the floods of winter 2013/14 and, now they are living on Osney Island themselves, said they were impressed with the proposals.

Mr Puglisi said: “I’m really pleased with it. We are heartened by what’s happening.

“We were on the phone to our tenants constantly and they had to put sandbags out, but thankfully water didn’t get into the house.”

The former schoolteachers go back and forth between Australia and Osney Island, often staying for more than a year at a time before moving. Michael Bailey, who lives in Henry Road, West Oxford, has seen his house at risk of flooding since the major floods of 2003.

The retired Oxfam worker said that although his property had weathered the storm, the channel was vital. He said: “It’s essential.

“We have had three severe floods in Oxford in the last 15 years or so and there are a lot of families who do become really worried when they see the levels rising.”

EA project director Jo Larmour said: “The community are already very engaged in the conversation about flood risk because they have had to deal with it. They are speaking from a very informed position.

“We are asking people what they want to see from the scheme and we have had lots of people sharing their experiences, especially on the Botley Road.”