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Flood summit meeting call
Damage: Andy Webber,of Earl Street, West Oxford
Damage: Andy Webber,of Earl Street, West Oxford

A SPECIAL 'flood summit' is being convened in Oxford to address concerns over the city's ability to deal with future torrential rainfall.

The meeting, for which a date has yet to be set, would allow worried residents and those concerned about the effect of housebuilding on flooding to meet with experts for a question-and-answer session.

Although the Environment Agency has held a recent flooding surgery, the city council has yet to take a look at the issue as a whole.

The Town Hall has "registered an interest" in obtaining cash from the Belwin Scheme, a Government flood emergency repair fund.

As yet, there is no indication as to how much money the council would get or how it would be spent.

The summit was the idea of Carfax city councillor Paul Sargent, who suggested an open meeting would tackle the following issues:

  • Questions and statements from members of the public
  • How flood funding was allocated
  • Whether councils' emergency planning was adequate to deal with future flooding
  • Housebuilding on flood plains He now needs the support of other city councillors.

    Those living in Osney Island and West Oxford were worst affected by last month's flooding, with scores forced into temporary accommodation. The long process of repairing the damage has only just started.

    Mr Sargent said: "Flooding is an issue that can directly affect many parts of the city and indirectly can have city-wide economic and infrastructure effects.

    "The council should give a steer on many of the issues that we are likely to face again in the future.

    "We ought to be forming ideas of how Government money should be spent - and people should be telling us." Last month, on a visit to Oxford, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn warned we would have to get used to the fact severe weather was out of anyone's control - and that future flooding was a distinct possibility.

    Andy Webber, 54, of Earl Street, suffered damage estimated at 15,000 when his house flooded.

    He said: "This was the third flood in seven years - this (summit) is a good idea, it's important that residents are taken notice of."

    Osney Island East Street resident Simon Stubbings, 62, added: "The water stopped on the road, a couple of feet away from our front door.

    "I think it's essential we have a proper, co-ordinated approach so a flood summit is a good idea. Obviously better defences would help.

    "These have traditionally been flood meadows, but they have been disappearing.

    "Last month's events were pretty exceptional, but we have had floods in 2000, 2003 and this year - so there is a decent chance that it will happen again."

    8:54am today

     
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