Homes flooded as festive storms strike Bicester

Flooding in Bicester
Flooding in Bicester
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Flash floods made it a tough start to Christmas for many families in Bicester and surrounding villages.

The disruption began on Monday and left more than 6,000 homes across Oxfordshire without power.

That number was reduced to 1,400 by the morning of Christmas Eve, but the adverse weather had already caused many more problems, particularly in Bicester town centre, where Chapel Street and The Causeway were severely flooded.

The rising waters also reached the ground floor of the Hanover Gardens sheltered accommodation on Manorsfield Road, with approximately 60 people forced to be evacuated from the home. While the majority of residents were rehoused with family and friends, Oxfordshire County Council Emergency Planning Team worked in co-operation with Hanover Gardens and Cherwell District Council to help find alternative accommodation for the remaining residents.

One Causeway resident and his fiancée, who did not wish to be named, were caught in the floods with their eight-week-old daughter.

He said: “We were woken up around 6am on Christmas Eve and thought it was a delivery, but it was someone from the fire brigade.

“My fiancée looked out of the window and could see how badly the road was flooded, so we went straight downstairs to discover water seeping through the front door.

“We moved all of the furniture upstairs because we were unsure how bad it would get, but really we were quite fortunate.

“Although we have two doors coming into the front of the house, they held up really well.

“Our laminate flooring will need to be replaced even though we managed to contain the water with towels.

“We must have strained about 30 buckets worth of water out of them!”

The emergency services had to knock through a wall in The Causeway to help the water flow but by lunchtime on Christmas Eve they had managed to reopen the street. The resident added: “Restaurants along the street were pushing water out with brooms and the house opposite just chucked their carpet out, so that was obviously ruined.

Chiltern Railways services were also affected by the adverse weather and Oxfordshire County Council faced more than 70 incidents involving fallen trees on roads across Oxfordshire.