We live in the charming lace network of streets of Osney and the neighbouring North Hinksey across the willows and millennial old flood meadows which ‘planners’ wish to separate with a 60 metre wide channel, spanned at Willow Walk by a vast bridge. The scheme, which involves the felling of thousands of trees, recalls the worst of the ‘function over form’ mindset of brutalist modern architecture, in an unproven effort to address floods which may not even work.

We ask

1. Has this sort of scheme been successfully implemented

2. Is a cost benefit analysis available? If so where?

3. Why have Freedom of Information requests about correspondence between local Councils and the University been blocked?

4. Why can the water not be held further up stream than around the Oxford flood meadows?

Flood Alleviation Channel

Map of the proposed scheme.

The new channel being dug is in green - see the size of it, sometimes up to 250 metres wide. 

Click here to download the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme document

We note

This overengineered and expensive scheme will ruin 133 acres of Greenbelt.

The scheme could destroy up to 4000 trees, a fact hidden by the reference in the proposal to ‘groups of trees’ being removed.

The proposed 60 metre bridge over the ‘channel’ in Willow Walk will destroy over one third of the Walk. Monks' Causeway to the Fishes will be no more. Is this bridge the precursor for a road?

The Botley Road warehouses were allowed because of the tree cover to the view from North Hinksey Lane. These trees will now be removed.

The Seacourt Stream will be damaged where the new ‘channel’ takes the flow away. It will have the potential to become a weed choked and rat infested ditch running behind gardens and the garden of the Fishes pub.

500,000 tons of gravel and sand are planned for extraction and removal along the single track entry point for cyclists, pedestrians and cars for the rugby, archery and tennis clubs through North Hinksey Village. At 25 tons a truck that is 40,000 journeys there and back.

Planning Blight has already removed the highly successful “Old Manor House Riding School” whose stables have been pulled down and become a housing estate.The scheme’s lack of maintenance beyond five years means that the whole area which has been successfully grazed by horses and other large animals for centuries maintaining the biodiversity will become a waste land. The solid soil base will be removed and fences will not be allowed so no animals can be grazed.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council have obtained a £6 million Housing Infrastructure grant for the Osney Industrial Estate redevelopment. The flood alleviation scheme being paid for by tax payers is enabling Third Party Land development at Osney Industrial Estate which is not what the Water Industry Act was set up to do. Has this scheme been designed to enable Oxford University to develop land they own into student housing and a new Engineering Department?

We risk being called Nimby’s. However we local residents have lived in the area for years and know and feel responsible for the environment we have cared for, better than people working on maps and computers elsewhere. We stand for ‘local control of the local environment’.

We Propose

“Why not dredge and clear the rivers and streams which have not been dredged for 40 years, unblock the outflow from the flood plain by the old Abingdon road and then assess the further impact that may be needed?”

“Why not concentrate on spending money on improving flood measures in the Botley Road and Osney?”

Please sign our petition below.

“That the Secretary of State for the Environment require the Environment Agency to carry out a pilot scheme to dredge the watercourses in West Oxford before giving any permission for the overengineered Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme”

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