Business owners in the Wantage area near East Challow are calling on local emergency services to take greater control in managing flooding situations to ensure there ois minimal impact on their operations.

Fire and police teams descended upon the W&G estate on the A417 last Thursday morning (November 2) after flooding caused by Storm Ciaran closed sections of the road.

The flooding led emergency services to direct traffic away from the estate and prevented vehicles from using the road. 

Emma Barnard, owner of Vale Hydroptherapy, a pet business based on the estate, was instructed by firefighters to go home, as were others on the estate, despite flood water not having entered or reached any properties.

This caused her to lose income for the day, as she runs operations directly from the business address via face-to-face appointments.

Ms Barnard said: “The fire service was on the main road preventing people from travelling towards Faringdon and entering the estate. The week before last we had flood water coming up through the drains but it receded quickly. I’m in the process of trying to rearrange appointments but not all can be.”

Nearby business Haynes, based on the western edge of the A417 in East Challow, remained open as it was not directly affected by flood water, however it did not see any customers due to the road closure in place.

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A spokesperson for Haynes said: “We had the fire service and the police outside blocking the road.

"They were preventing lorries from getting to the W&G estate even though they could access it. Understandably, the emergency services did what they thought was right, but there was no need.

“We’re hardly seeing any customers as there are still road closure signs up now that haven’t been taken down. We’re either losing out on customers or having people coming to us confused as to whether they can access the road or not.”

Haynes also said that on the occasions they had reached out to the county council for help when they had previously been impacted by flooding, they were informed it was the water board’s responsibility.

Councillor Dr Paul Burrow, Ridgeway ward district councillor, said: “I’ve had a lot of residents contact me about the effect flooding is having.

"It’s a persistent problem, yet one which is solvable. Whilst drainage has improved, more effort needs to be directed at unblocking.

"There are roadside grips which are like channels running off the road which get clogged up.

"When I’ve spoken to the county council they’ve said they can only get round to working on these every 10 years. That’s not good enough. I will be getting onto the county council about this and going down there myself.”

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council said: "Once we have received reports  that a road has become flooded to some extent, we will put up the standard flood warning signs if the road is, with care, still passable.

"Once it gets beyond this stage, and again if reported (for example, if a car is stuck in flood water), we will then put up formal road closed signs plus cones and barriers. We then have to back that up with formal Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO).

"Roads are reopened following an inspection when it is safe to do so. The A417 has been reopened. There are still a couple of puddles visible but the road is now passable."