FOUR South Oxfordshire villages have joined forces to fight plans for a gravel pit which opponents say will “ruin” the countryside.
Aggregate and waste disposal firm Hills wants to develop the 160-hectare site between Clifton Hampden, Appleford and Long Wittenham.
Spearheading the opposition, Clifton Hampden and Burcot Parish Council is recruiting more villagers from Long Wittenham, Culham and Appleford.
Swindon-based Hills says five million tonnes of gravel would be extracted over the 20-year lifespan of the site – 250,000 tons per year.
Long Wittenham Parish Council vice-chairman Simon Thompson said: “The environmental impact on the whole area would be very serious.”
Leaflets are being circulated and a fundraising campaign has been launched.
Campaigners want to raise £26,000 to hire legal help to fight the planning application which the company hopes to lodge with Oxfordshire County Council in December. Hills plans to stage exhibitions in villages before the end of October.
The campaign group goes by the acronym of BACHPORT – Burcot and Clifton Hampden for the Protection of the River Thames.
Spokesman Ian Mason said: “If this project is allowed it would ruin a beautiful part of the countryside bordering the Thames.
“With heavy lorry movements on already congested roads, there would be a high concentration of noise, dust and air pollution.
“It would harm village life, schools, shops, pubs, a camp site as well as river users.
“It would be disastrous for the whole area and we are determined to fight it all the way.”
Hills says not enough sand and gravel is being extracted in Oxfordshire to meet the needs of planned housing expansion over the next 20 years.
With weight restrictions in place over the Clifton Hampden and Culham bridges, lorries would be confined to using the main A415 Dorchester-Abingdon road.
Hill’s quarry products director Peter Andrew said: “This site is strategically located to provide sand and gravel to southern Oxfordshire for economic development. Independent consultants will assess all possible environmental effects.”
He said restoration of the site after its 20-year lifespan could include one lake for water sports and another with a 275-berth marina.
For more, visit hills-group.co.uk /consult/planning.html
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
9:00am Saturday 25th October 2014
BIKE safety campaigners have warned that cyclists are risking their lives, after an Oxford Mail survey found more than half of them were riding without lights.
5:18pm Saturday 25th October 2014
A FOOTBALL match was abandoned this afternoon after a bottle was thrown onto the pitch.
1:40pm Saturday 25th October 2014
With an extra hour to enjoy - or recover with - tonight is the perfect night to celebrate one of Oxford's biggest nights of music
9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014
Danny Rose is targeting a move into mid-table today as Oxford United visit Carlisle United in search of a third win in eight days.
9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014
FILM buffs were given a taste of how movies used to be watched as they turned out for a silent screening in Witney.
8:49am Saturday 25th October 2014
Police have said the 21-year-old Oxford University student who was reported missing has been found safe and well.