'It has been devastating' - Rivers burst their banks as water levels rise in Berkshire

Rising water levels are causing 'devastating' damage across parts of the Thames Valley, following heavy rain last week.

Homes and businesses across Oxfordshire and Berkshire have been affected as rivers, including the Thames and Kennet, burst their banks.

Flood warnings remain in place for large swathes of the region, as river levels maintain persistently high.

One cafe, based on the River Thames in Wargrave, has been severely flooded. Its owner says a significant amount of work will be needed to bring it back into use, adding he has never seen the river like this.

Lee Goodwin told ITV Meridian the damage to Velolife Cafe was 'devastating' and significant investment is now necessary.

He said: "We are going to have to refit the whole cafe. It was only built and put together a couple of years ago.

"All of that investment has to go back into it again to rebuild before we can open.

"This flood I believe is the highest it has been in 20 years, since I've been here it certainly hasn't come near the cafe.

"I believe for the marina it hasn't been this high for nearly nine years."

  • Lee Goodwin speaks to ITV Meridian

The Environment Agency has previously warned that more properties may be flooded in the coming days amid increased river levels and more rain.

More than 1,800 properties have already flooded after prolonged wet weather and intense rainfall, the agency said, with the impact of high water levels likely to continue, particularly around the rivers Trent, Severn and Thames.

The agency said buildings “will flood and there will be travel disruption” during that time period, and local groundwater flooding is also possible in the South of England.

People have been urged to be aware of the risk of flooding, and the Environment Agency is updating a live map regularly with the areas most at risk.

A car is seen stranded in floodwater in Cookham Credit: ITV Meridian

Katharine Smith, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said on Sunday: “Significant river flooding impacts are still expected… over the next few days across parts of the River Thames in Oxfordshire as well as the River Trent near Nottingham, and the River Severn, including Gloucester.

“The prolonged wet weather and intense rainfall has led to flooding impacts and our thoughts are with all of those affected.”

The government said on Saturday that flood-hit communities can apply for funding to help them through the “extreme challenges” brought about by the rains and strong winds.

In a joint announcement, Communities Secretary Michael Gove and Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said financial support was available to eligible areas in England that experience “exceptional localised flooding” between January 2-8.

Mr Gove and Mr Barclay said those affected would “not have to deal with it alone” as they announced funding and tax relief for communities feeling the effects of flooding.

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