Oxford City Council secures final funding needed to build Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme

Published: Thursday, 8th February 2018

Oxford City Council has won £4.35m and closed the final funding gap needed to build the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme – protecting at least 1,200 homes across Oxford from the risk of flooding.

The contribution means that the fundraising target for the £121m Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (OFAS) has been secured, allowing it to proceed to planning and Full Business Case.

The scheme will benefit everyone who lives, works in or visits Oxford. As well as reduced flooding to at least 1,200 homes, the railway and Botley and Abingdon roads will be protected – keeping the city open for business during times of flood.

In November 2017, HM Treasury approved the Outline Businesses Case for the scheme and outlined that £121m had to be secured before the scheme could continue.

The £4.35m funding was allocated to Oxford City Council as part of the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund. It was part of £6.09m allocated to the City Council to enable the development of the Osney Mead Innovation Quarter.

The Quarter, which is in the majority ownership of the University of Oxford, will see the creation of 600 homes by 2025 for key university staff and students, and support the expansion of University of Oxford research and development activity through postgraduates and early career post-doctoral researchers.

The £4.35 funding ensures that the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme can be built, which will protect the 8.8 hectare Quarter from flooding, enabling it to be developed.

Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme has received £55.3m of funding from all partners – Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, Oxfordshire county Council, Thames Water Utilities Ltd and the University of Oxford – and £65.7m of Government funding.

Oxford City Council has contributed about £6.3m towards the scheme, including the donation of City Council-owned land.

The £121m funding will cover the design and construction costs needed to deliver the scheme, and includes the maintenance of the scheme for 10 years.

The Environment Agency will submit the planning application for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme in March. It will take approximately three years to build.

A Full Business Case will be submitted to HM Treasury later this year by the project team, while partners continue to negotiate with external companies for future investment in the scheme.

Since January 2014, the project team from the Environment Agency has been working with partners from Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Thames Water, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, University of Oxford and the Oxford Flood Alliance to outline a scheme.

In total, Oxford City Council received £19.84m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will help bring forward three housing developments across Oxford – the Osney Mead Innovation Quarter, Leys Regeneration Project and Northern Gateway – provide affordable housing, protect the city from flooding and boost the city’s knowledge-based economy.

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will bring huge benefits to householders in West and South Oxford, and to all parts of the business community. I am delighted that we have been successful in our application for this final tranche of funding. We can now proceed very quickly to making the planning application and the proposed housing developments on Osney Mead can proceed in the secure knowledge that they will be protected against major flood events.”

For more information about Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, please visit the project's website.