Homes are hit as water levels rise in south Oxfordshire

Percy Buckingham surveys flooding outside his home. Picture: Damian Halliwell

Percy Buckingham surveys flooding outside his home. Picture: Damian Halliwell Buy this photo

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

VILLAGERS in the south of the county woke up early yesterday to find flood water rising fast in and around their homes.

Heavy rainfall led to many of the county’s waterways spilling out, swamping roads and hitting houses.

Firefighters were called out to 60 flooding incidents county-wide, with crews going to help 23 properties hit by flooding and seven vehicles stranded in deep water.

Chalgrove was shut down as water covered the village’s key roads and trapped residents.

Mill Lane resident John Barrett, 74, said: “It floods, but not as bad as this. I have never seen it like this before.”

Percy Buckingham, 82, also of Mill Lane, woke up to find his bungalow kitchen had filled with more than two inches of water in less than an hour.

He said: “My wife thought I had left the tap on.”

Mr Buckingham said firefighters had pumped the water out but the carpets were still soaked.

Retired drainage engineer Paul Jacques, 76, also of Mill Lane, said: “This is very unexpected, very unusual.”

Elsewhere, firefighters were called out to rescue 37 children from a King Alfred’s Academy school bus stranded in deep floodwater between Baulking and Kingstone Lisle, near Faringdon.

Primary schools in Chalgrove, Hanney, Steventon and Chinnor were closed due to the flooding.

Mike Eltham, 59, of Grove, said Cane Lane flooded at about 6am when the Letcombe Brook burst its banks.

He said: “It was frightening. It was like a flash flood and within an hour it had subsided a foot. It has a tendency to flood here but not as quickly as it did today.”

Two cars were pulled from flood water in Brookside in East Hanney, but father-of-four Steve Kendall, of Main Street, said the village had escaped the worst flooding due to the prevention work of the Hanneys Flood Group.

He said: “At times gone by, we would have had much bigger problems.”

Environment Agency spokesman Joe Giacomelli said: “Rivers are running high.

“There has been a lot of rainfall in the past few days.”

When asked why Oxford and the rest of the county had avoided serious flooding, he said: “It depends on where the rain falls and where the catchments are.”

He said Chalgrove had been hit badly because it was on the River Thame which was running particularly high.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was last night warning people not to drive or walk through flood water – with hidden dangers of unknown depth, current and contamination from sewage in the water.

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