Residents in Abingdon said they felt "conned" by the Environment Agency after it withdrew a plan to protect homes because it was not safe to use flood barriers on waterlogged ground.

Last week home owners on the Tithe Farm estate were left counting the cost after the River Ock burst its banks, leaving their garages and porches flooded.

Among those who suffered in the wake of Storm Henk was Jim King, 80, a member of the Ock Valley Flood Group.

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Mr King, of Chaunterell Way, demanded to know why temporary flood barriers, which were once stored at Dalton Barracks, had been moved elsewhere.

Oxford Mail: Jim KingThe Environment Agency has confirmed that the temporary flood barriers are no longer stored in the town - but claims they were never solely designated for use in Abingdon.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Recent storms led to high river levels in the Thames Valley, and our thoughts are with all those affected.

"Our temporary flood barriers and pumps at South Hinksey, Vicarage Lane and Osney Island in Oxford have protected dozens of properties during Storm Henk.

“The Environment Agency remains committed to supporting the people of Abingdon.

"We held an event last year to pass on practical advice, and remain available to provide support.

"Our teams help reduce flood-risk by cutting grass and weeds, and removing debris from rivers and streams.

“Waterlogged ground in the Ock flood plain at Abingdon and little time to react to the fast-responding river create practical and safety risks with the use of temporary flood barriers here.

"We have withdrawn our temporary flood barrier plan for Abingdon as a result of these risks."

Mr King said: "It feels like the Environment Agency has been conning us all along.

"The flood barriers were tested for the Ock and stored in the town so I don't accept that they were not bought for the town.

"As for the safety risk, they knew these floods were coming and had plenty of time to put the barriers up in advance.

Oxford Mail: Flood water in Abingdon"These barriers were definitely meant for Abingdon and if the agency have changed their minds they need to come up with a fresh plan and do it soon as this could happen every year.

"I believe the people of Abingdon have been badly let down."

In a briefing note a spokesman for the Environment Agency added: "Temporary flood barriers previously stored at Dalton Barracks in Abingdon were never intended for dedicated use in Abingdon.

"They were part of the national stock of flood barriers for distribution to locations with agreed plans to use them as required."

He added: "It’s not true to say we removed the barriers from Abingdon to make the town less protected in order to save somewhere else."

A flood alert for the River Thames in Abingdon was still in place on Monday, although river levels continued to fall.

Oxford Mail: Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla MoranResidents living in Appleford Drive and Chilton Close who were affected by the Storm Henk floods were invited to a meeting at The Croft Bar, Peachcroft, on Tuesday at 7pm.

Those who have organised the meeting have invited the Environment Agency to attend.

The town's Tesco Extra store was also affected by the River Ock bursting its banks.

Its car parked filled with water and it was forced to close for a whole weekend.

It also closed for a short time in April due to a similar flood.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran has urged the Environment Agency to come up with an alternative plan now temporary flood barriers are no longer an option.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.