EX-BOATMAN’s Barrier plan FALLS on DEAF EARS

Bicester Advertiser: EX-BOATMAN’s Barrier plan FALLS on DEAF EARS EX-BOATMAN’s Barrier plan FALLS on DEAF EARS

A FORMER boatyard manager claims to have a simple solution to one of Oxfordshire’s most damaging flood problems.

But he said flood protection experts have continually ignored his advice.

Tom Ballance, pictured during last month’s flood, 55, of Abingdon, said Binsey flooded because a historical gravel causeway across the western bank of the Thames just above Oxford had eroded.

The barrier was about six feet high and 50 to 75 feet in width, and ran from Godstow Lock to the Rainbow Bridge near Binsey.

His plan is to reinstate and maintain it in three areas, near Godstow Lock, behind the Perch pub, and near to Medley Sailing Club. Mr Ballance’s family ran the boatyard in Binsey for several decades before selling up in 2004.

He said he approached Oxfordshire County Council and the Environment Agency following floods in 2007, but his idea was shelved and Binsey flooded again.

He said: “I can’t see how it would cost an awful lot, you wouldn’t need costly materials, it just needs proper maintenence.

“It's almost like you have to go down there, fall in and die for someone to take notice. I don’t see it will cost that much, and would love to see someone take responsibility and fix it.”

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The Environment Agency could not confirm it had met with Mr Ballance and did not offer a comment over his suggestions.

A spokesman for the county council said: “Such matters aren’t part of the county council’s portfolio of services.”

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