RESIDENTS face weeks without road access to their homes as major sewer works start in North Hinksey today.

A rolling road closure of North Hinksey Lane will shut sections of the road until late April while Thames Water carries out the next stage of its £7m flood alleviation scheme.

Villagers say the water firm had indicated a relief road would be in place at a meeting last November.

Thames Water said nothing had been promised, but admitted the scheme had been suggested.

The 100 residents of North Hinksey village will not be able to drive to their homes between 8am and 5pm every day while the work to expand the sewers blocks their street.

The road closure will start at Oxford Rugby Club and move up to West Way, Botley, by April 24 but Thames Water was unable to say how long the village would be cut off.

The water firm is providing a temporary car park opposite the church for about 20 cars.

Villager Dr Chris Sugden, 53, said: “It is highly inconvenient for us. We were given a very strong impression there was going to be a relief road.

“They think we are all nine to five workers.”

He added: “It has to be done but I think Thames Water could have been much more sensitive with the way they have handled it.”

Chris Amey, manager of The Fishes pub which employs 17 people, said he would not be able to get deliveries or customers to the door. He predicts he could lose more than £1,000 each day the pub is blocked off by the closure.

And warning of the potential of having to make some staff redundant, he said: “I don’t know what we are going to do. It is going to be absolutely devastating.”

Eric Batts, Vale of White Horse District Council member for Hinksey and Wytham, said he was concerned emergency services could not reach the village.

He said: “If they couldn’t get the relief road they should have gone back to the residents to explore other options.

“Thames Water have not thought it through at all.”

Thames Water spokesman Natalie Slater said residents were never promised a relief road. She added: “We’ve done our best to minimise disruption while still getting the work done as efficiently as possible. We’re really sorry for the disruption this will cause, but it is essential we get this work done.”

She also said businesses could apply for compensation.