Jubilee River - Safety issues.
From my calculations and the modelling carried out by Wallingford, it is fully anticipated that the river would overflow at Black Potts at a flow of around 100 cumecs, as has been experienced in the 4th week of January 2008.
The question of whether this is a safety hazard has never been raised as far as I know.
It is true that the Thames can often inundate towpaths but the Jubilee River at this point has an unusual feature. The footpath slopes down suddenly to pass under the arch of the viaduct, which can result in a localised flood up to 18 inches deep of fast flowing water. The approach path from the golf course side would also be awash for some distance where the water is returning to the river.
Clearly this arch is not accessible in these circumstances. An adjacent arch has a firm footway some 12 inches higher, hence the water in this is about 6 inches deep. It can only be approached however along the same flooded footpath of moving water and some 15 yards of rough turf with up to 6 inches depth of water. This could not be considered suitable for the average pedestrian and a woman pushing a perambulator would be in very great difficulty indeed
A person on the golf course side of the viaduct would therefore be faced with the prospect of retreating across the golf course and making a detour through Datchet of about 2 miles. In such a situation the person may be tempted to wade through the flood and in doing so could suffer a mishap.
The absolute minimum consideration that should be given to the public in this situation is for a notice to be placed at the footpath in Windsor Road whenever the flow in the Jubilee River exceeds 90 cumecs, advising that there is no access to Pococks Lane. This of course makes nonsense of the EA’s assertion that the river may be used for flows up to 180 cumecs.
G. F. Wheeler. 31/1/2008 Picture of footpath Picture of footpath inundated with flood water