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According to the Environment Agency, several areas in the country recorded highest rainfall levels since records began. The largest daily total, 126.2mm was recorded at Brize Norton in West Oxfordshire on Friday July 20th. The previous record at that location was 79.5mm in 1968.



Well that was some day that was!

MORE than half the month's average rainfall fell in less than 12 hours on Friday, resulting in the worst day of flooding since Easter 1998. Brize Norton recorded the highest day's rainfall ever. While Chippy seemed to have escaped relatively lightly there was chaos in nearby villages and on surrounding roads. The A44 was blocked by flood water at Salford and cars got stuck trying to navigate through. The nearby Cornwell Road was also blocked and the bridge there seemed to be in danger of collapsing. On Saturday morning the road to Charlbury is impassable. Milton under Wychwood is cut off and and Shipton under Wychwood is in terrible problems - cut off and deep in water. Apparently a Chippy Fire Crew was trapped there all night.  Moreton was impassable on Friday and the High Street was flooded. One Chippy resident writes: My son who lives in Moreton says it took him 2 and a half hours to get home from Chippy, He left his car outside the town and he had to wade through water up to his waist to get home, luckily his house is not flooded at the moment, but flood water in the centre of Moreton is 3 or 4 feet deep. The station is flooded and you can just see the tops of cars". Some drivers on the M40 were stuck for four hours in queues. The A40 Oxford Northern bypass was closed eastbound between the Wolvercote and Headington roundabouts. Among the other roads affected by flooding were the B4044 via Swinford toll bridge, the Woodgreen Hill junction in Witney, the Bicester bypass,  and the A43 north of junction 10 of the M40 at Ardley. The Bicester bypass was also badly affected. Trains were also hit by the disruption, with no services running from Oxford and Banbury on Chiltern Railways to the West Midlands and the north. The Cotswold Line was also flooded and Virgin's cross-country lines going through Oxfordshire were cancelled. On Saturday morning Banbury Station is still under water.

At  11.15am: The Mill Theatre in Banbury was putting out sandbags as drains struggled to cope with the volume of water and Cherwell District Council advised that the River Cherwell might flood. Severe flooding reached Bloxham with Bloxham School being evacuated and water seeping into houses along Tadmarton Road. At 11.45am: Firefighters went to Great Tew primary school after torrential rain caused flooding. It started in the toilets and  spread to classrooms.

On Friday evening The Banbury Guardian said.."Roads are currently blocked and homes are flooded  - but with the River Cherwell not expected to reach its peak until the early hours of Saturday morning, more bad news could still be on its way. Met Office spokesman Barry Grommett said: "Oxfordshire is undoubtedly one of the worst affected areas in the country."Saturday will not be totally dry but the rain will not be so prolonged. There will be some heavy showers in the afternoon." A Highways Agency spokesman warned drivers to beware surface water on the roads, and to drive carefully, slowing down in the wet conditions.


The Evenlode at Charlbury Railway Station

The road bridge over the river Evenlode at Charlbury was swamped as waters rose to dramatic levels, flooding the nearby cricket pavilion and ground.


The situation on Thursday morning (26th July) seems to be:

Since Friday more than 800 homes in Oxfordshire have been flooded. The Environment Agency is deploying pumps and continuing to monitor water levels every 15 minutes. Flooding has also brought more trouble to roads with Abingdon Road closing shortly before midnight on Tuesday for a second time in days. South Central Ambulance has evacuated or rescued more than 200 people during the floods and remains on high alert. An 18-year-old man was taken to hospital yesterday after his car hit a bridge and dropped in to the River Ray near Charlton-on-Otmoor. His condition today was unknown. About 30 airmen from RAF Brize Norton delivered thousands of sandbags around the county. According to the Environment Agency, the river levels over the past 24 hours are similar to the levels that caused floods in Oxford in 2003.  Severe flood warnings remain in place on the River Ock and tributaries, Eynsham Lock and Sandford on Thames.

Yesterday about 250 homes in Oxford were flooded, forcing dozens of people to take refuge at a rescue centre. Water levels are expected to remain at the same level today in Oxford, Abingdon and Wallingford. The Environment Agency, said: "The waters are not going to go away. The waters may fluctuate over time but the levels will remain high.

The floods first struck homes in Earl Street, off Botley Road, on Tuesday night, closely followed by Osney Island. Water continued to rise and yesterday afternoon both ends of South Street were cordoned off.

About 70 per cent of the people firefighters tried to evacuate chose to stay in their homes - despite the rapidly rising water. Homes in Botley Road also lost power. There were fears up to 5,500 homes and hospitals in Oxford would be blacked out, after firefighters spent a third day yesterday pumping water from an electricity sub-station in Ferry Hinksey Road, Osney.

Two of the main roads in to the city, Botley and Abingdon Roads, are closed.
The roads affected by flooding are Botley Road, in the vicinity of Osney, East Street, West Street, South Street, Bridge Street, Riverside Road and Earl Street. . Oxford Bus Company said its services were diverting around Botley Road so passengers could be picked up and dropped off in Botley. It also said there are no buses connecting the Seacourt park and ride car park into Oxford city centre. But the Express service to London and the Airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick are running as normal.

FLOOD water on the tracks at Kennington means train services between Oxford and Didcot remain suspended until further notice. Rail services from Oxford are disrupted by flooding again today. Trains between Oxford and Didcot will be suspended for a fourth day, with the route now not expected to reopen until Saturday at the earliest, once flood water on the tracks at Kennington and Hinksey recedes. Replacement bus services linking the two stations will continue to operate, as will a special timetable between Didcot, Reading and London. Passengers can also travel to and from London using FGW tickets on Chiltern Railways services, travelling via Banbury. Emergency timetables remain in force for First Great Western trains between Oxford and Bicester Town and Oxford and Banbury, along with an hourly Virgin CrossCountry service linking Oxford and Banbury with Leamington Spa and Birmingham.


The Cotswold Line between Oxford and Worcester will be closed into August for repairs to flood damage. FGW is operating replacement road transport from stations on the line. FGW has announced a package of compensation for passengers whose journeys have been affected by the disruption following last Friday's torrential downpours and the ensuing flooding. Special arrangements have been made to provide alternative road transport for passengers from stations along the Cotswold Line, which will be closed until Monday, August 6, at the earliest, due to flood damage on the route, which links Oxford with Worcester. These are as follows: Between Charlbury, Combe and Oxford, passengers can travel on the 20A Stagecoach Oxfordshire bus service using their rail tickets.Taxis will be provided from Charlbury direct to Didcot Parkway station at 6.20am and 6.47am and a coach at 9.15am. Taxis will be provided from Kingham direct to Didcot at 6.08am and 6.37am

RH's X8 service is not serving Kingham railway station due to the closure of the Cotswold Line but continues to operate between Chipping Norton, Kingham village, Churchill and Bledington at normal times.

FIRST Great Western train services from Banbury are running again following last week's flooding. A shuttle rail service is now available from Banbury to Oxford, all stopping at King's Sutton, Heyford and Tackley. The track between Oxford and Didcot remains closed, with road transport laid on instead. Allow extra time for your journey therefore. For a timetable of Banbury to Oxford services plus more information, visit First Great Western's website. Chiltern Railways services are operating as usual.

Grants of up to �2,500 will be made available to businesses affected by the floods to help them to develop recovery plans. The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) is making this funding available as part of an initial package to help businesses to make as swift as possible a recovery from flooding.
This support  can be accessed through Business Link on   Companies affected by flooding will be fast tracked to experts through this number.


Chippy resident Oliver Herrin was out with his camera on Saturday. The top row shows two views of the fields around Kingham Station. Bottom  left is further along the Bledington Road and bottom right are marquees in the flooded garden at the Kingham Mill Hotel





The Chippy Firefighters are absolutely fantastic. I was with them for many hours in Shipton last night and again this morning. They deserve a medal! They helped householders move furniture, helped them leave premises and stayed at the nursing home all night to reassure and take care of the residents and staff. Another crew were in another heavily flooded area. They moved sandbags- in fact they were wonderful!!! This was an extremely dangerous situation and this morning the decision was taken to evacuate houses and the nursing home by boat, no easy task as most were in wheelchairs. The spirit of the nursing home residents was incredible - no complaints and all cheery! The staff too! It is of course devastating for the homeowners who are under three feet of water and in Ascott there were rescues from top floor windows. I have 5 people staying with me who were stranded and they too helped move sandbags and even fill them. We finished that at 2am. The community spirit was excellent! I am happy to say that the water in Ascott has gone. We still have some in Shipton. Oh what a 36hrs!!!!!
I hope the rain stays away!

Witney Bridge Street


Due to flooding and resulting disruption across the District the Council has not been able to operate any refuse, bulky waste, recycling and pest control services on Monday 23rd July. This has allowed key staff and support to concentrate on communities and villages within West Oxfordshire who have been affected by the recent floods. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. 

Refuse and recycling collections will continue as normal from tomorrow, Tuesday 24th July and for the rest of the week. The disrupted collections from today, Monday 23rd July, will be collected in a double collection next Monday 30th July.



Where the hell is the leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition His constituents may be up to their knees in mud, but CMD ("Call me Dave") is sitting in a mud hut in Rwanda. Yes, I know this trip's been arranged for a long time but he could have postponed it, if only for a few days, pleading pressing business at home. I'm sure the Rwandans wouldn't have minded. They're not going anywhere any time soon.

Before jetting off on his latest publicity stunt, Cameron was photographed wading through the flood waters on his own doorstep. Let's hope he wasn't wearing his trendy, recycled trainers, otherwise they'd have been ruined. CMD's place right now is here in Britain, in his own constituency. He should have been touring the manor in a beaten-up Land Rover, feeling people's pain and dispensing mulligatawny soup and cheese sandwiches, accompanied by Mrs Dave in aristocratic, frayed Barbour jacket, Laura Ashley frock and green wellies. He should be out there digging drainage ditches in Oxfordshire, not digging latrines in Rwanda. A bit of noblesse oblige might not have gone amiss.

Of course, it wouldn't have made the slightest difference - any more than Gordon Brown flying over the afflicted areas in a helicopter. But it would have conveyed a sense of getting his priorities right. If there was one time when it wouldn't have done Cameron any harm to behave like an old-fashioned Tory toff, this was it.

In an interview before he left for Africa, CMD said there could be no going back on his crusade for compassionate Conservatism. OK, old son, we get it. We've seen the pushbike, the windmill, the team of huskies. How about extending a bit of compassion to those you expect to vote for you next time

As far as Middle England is concerned, it's not the lack of clean drinking water in Rwanda which is top of their concerns, it's lack of clean drinking water in Tewksbury. Civil war in Africa is terrible, but it's civil war in the Conservative Party which is CMD's immediate problem. He won't have endeared himself to those who should be his natural supporters by disappearing off to Kigali while Much Binding-in-the-Marsh disappeared under six feet of water.

The freak floods weren't anyone's fault, but the fallout was. Cameron should have been on his hind legs, on every TV and radio station, asking awkward questions of the Government.  He could have asked Gordon Brown why he gave �8billion in overseas aid to Africa while at the same time slashing millions off Britain's flood defences. He might have attacked the wisdom of hiring thousands of superfluous 'climate change' officers while emergency planning for a genuine natural disaster has been woefully neglected.

That's what a serious Leader of the Opposition would have done - consoled the victims and doled out a bit of high-profile, practical help, while simultaneously holding the Government to account. In the middle of a national crisis, he shouldn't go missing, giving the impression that he cares more about Africa than his own backyard. The time for stunts is over. Call Me Dave has to decide whether he wants to be Prime Minister or a rich man's Bob Geldof.



Flooding: Red Cross appeal

The British Red Cross is co-ordinating an appeal fund in aid of those affected by the floods in Oxfordshire. Local authorities across the county have joined forces with the charity to ensure financial help gets to those who need it most.

Oxfordshire County Council is currently in discussions with the Red Cross on how to allocate funds in the city and other parts of the county after five-days of flooding. And last night civic leaders issued an appeal for every one to dig deep and contribute what they could. Scores have been evacuated from their homes in Abingdon and Oxford and are currently holed up in temporary accommodation.

County council chairman Liz Brighouse said:  "We recognise that however hard we work, the floods have caused huge distress - and in some cases loss - to a large number of people and their problems are likely to continue for some time after the water levels have subsided. There are many in the community who want to do their bit to help those who have been badly affected and we feel supporting a national appeal fund is the best way of helping them to do that. Donations are vital at this stage but we have also received numerous offers of help from volunteers which we will need to co-ordinate over the coming few days and weeks"

Donations can be made by calling or at www.redcross.org.uk.


Praise for flood-hit residents and businesses

Barry Norton, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, has praised residents and businesses for their community spirit during the flooding that devastated the District.

 Cllr Norton has thanked residents, businesses, volunteers, staff and the Emergency Services for pulling together after Oxfordshire was hit by severe weather on Friday (July 20) and over the weekend.

 Cllr Norton said: �It has been staggering how many people and organisations have supported those residents and businesses affected by the floods. At a local level, Parish and District Councillors have worked with village clubs and organisations, and local businesses to help out in whatever way they could. Many of the people not directly affected have also given assistance to those in greater need. In some villages and towns, residents have worked alongside the Emergency Services and Council staff.  There has been an amazing community spirit during this extremely challenging time. The last few days have brought some unprecedented weather and flooding on a scale not seen in West Oxfordshire for many years. Work has started on the recovery stage and we are working closely with the County Council and other partners to co-ordinate efforts in an attempt to return to normality as soon as possible.�

 He added: �I would also like to thank the local and regional media, especially the BBC Oxford radio station and the Oxford Mail Group, for keeping residents informed during what has proved to be a constantly-changing and very worrying time.�



We want to place on record our enormous appreciation for the fantastic way the people of Oxfordshire have been responding to the flooding crisis. Many communities have been affected and some of these will take time to recover. Yet throughout the distress and anxiety, residents have consistently shown courtesy, politeness and support to each other and to the emergency services working so hard on their behalf.

The county council's Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and the emergency council teams have found people's responses enormously helpful. There has been stoicism, practicality and selflessness in abundance from all sections of our community - a great example of true British spirit!

We also want to compliment the incredible and dedicated professionalism of staff from every single one of the agencies - including the media - who have combined to form a cohesive team that has worked so hard to deal with the problems. There have been many examples of outstanding teamwork and commitment, of which we should all be proud. A large number of our staff have worked shifts of many, many hours with very little sleep or time for a break - and they have done this without a second thought, even though some of them have been personally affected by flooding in their homes. It has been a traumatic time for all of us.

However, we are confident that the strength shown by so many people in recent days will do much to bring about our recovery.

JOANNA SIMONS, Chief Executive, Oxfordshire County Council. SARA THORNTON, Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police. CLIVE BAYNES, Acting Chief Executive, Cherwell District Council. DAVID NEUDEGG, Chief Executive, West Oxfordshire District Council TERRY STOCK, Chief Executive, Vale of White Horse District Council. BRIAN DINSDALE, Acting Chief Executive, Oxford City Council. DAVID BUCKLE, Chief Executive, South Oxfordshire District Council



Our five star County Council strikes again. It warns us that if there are floods we needn't count on them for help. But they don't seem to have made even the most obvious preparations. For the amount of council tax we pay we have a right to expect regular maintenance of our gutters gullies and drains. If you know of a blocked drain report it to the Guildhall (Ian )  The pictures were taken on Sunday at Southcombe by Councillor Greenwell who lets fly in the Forum with his further thoughts ...............

I fully appreciate that we can report blocked drains to the "one stop shop" but frankly as Gerry says for the amount of council tax we pay the District and County should have an obligation to put proper routine maintenance in place. The weeds in the photographs are growing through the grating covers on the road drains on the main A44. They are not recent they have been growing there for at least a couple of years and the only thing that has stopped them becoming quite large bushes and trees is that they are crushed periodically by passing lorries. I had considered cutting them and sending them as a bouquet to our county councillor who I am sure would appreciate the gesture as a splendid example of the 'value for money' that we get. When I was a child the drains in the area where I lived were emptied regularly by a local authority "sludge gulper". Now services like that seem to have vanished! No doubt there are more important things to spend our county council tax on though, for the life of me, I can't think what it is being spent on in Chippy. We (The Chipping Norton Town Council) have had to pay to have the Youth Centre (a County Council responsibility) open for an additional night (allegedly), we have been told if we want a pedestrian crossing before 2009 we (the Town Council) will have to contribute - �12,500, We get no action on air quality or reducing the number of HGVs going through the town centre and if you look into the areas for future housing development in the town you come to the conclusion that the County Council will realise a very substantial amount when they are developed; Chipping Norton is being used as a crock of gold to be exploited with very little return for the town. So let them anticipate those gains; spend some of this money now and give us what we urgently need ! The pedestrian crossings, the drains maintained and cleaned regularly, a youth centre that is open every night and action to keep "heavies" out of the town. Our County and District Councillors (unlike Town Councillors) are 'paid' for the roles they carry out so lets see some real value for our money. Lets see them actively campaigning for these things every meeting every month.  KEITH GREENWELL


Thanks to Hilary Biles for the picture

Stories are still emerging from the weekend of the Floods. None more striking than the contribution the Firefighters from Chippy made in flood-stricken Shipton under Wychwood.  They arrived on Friday afternoon and Hilary says they were "magnificent". The most difficult job seems to have been the evacuation of some 30 elderly residents of a Care Home caught in the rising flood waters was. One crew were trapped overnight in the town and only managed to get back to the station in Chippy late on Saturday morning.