PLANS to build homes in Wallingford should mean proposals for a nearby gravel pit are ruled out, say campaigners.
Protest group Communities Against Gravel Extraction (CAGE) says a new ruling on South Oxfordshire District Council’s core strategy should see the end of the county council’s plans to dig five million tons of gravel from land between Wallingford and Cholsey.
In November, CAGE’s lawyer Adrian Hatt submitted a four-point objection to the plan to extract gravel on the farmland.
But now campaigners have submitted a further objection, following a planning inspector’s ruling on the district council’s core strategy that more than 500 homes should be built at Winterbrook, not Slade End Farm, as originally proposed by the district council.
A county council cabinet meeting on January 17 has now been postponed until March 13.
Mr Hatt said: “If both policies were upheld, the absurd result would be daily vehicular traffic from the 555 new homes at Winterbrook, plus 80 HGV gravel lorries all entering and exiting the same roundabout and sharing the Wallingford bypass, as well as unacceptable safety issues for cyclists.
“This is hardly joined up planning policies, and also entirely contrary to ‘localism’.
“Oxfordshire County Council must rethink its strategy, and this surprise development surely confirms CAGE submissions must be upheld.”
In an email to Mr Hatt, the council’s minerals officer Peter Day wrote: “We are aware of the inspector’s draft changes.
“We will take the draft changes concerning a strategic housing allocation at Wallingford into consideration.”
Mr Hatt added the postponement of the discussion was an indication that council officers were “going back to the drawing board”, and added: “That was always our objective.”
Town councillor and former mayor of Wallingford Bernard Stone, a member of CAGE, said: “We certainly wouldn’t want new housing at Winterbrook and the gravel pit alongside it.
“That the housing has been switched to the side of the town close to the gravel has given the county council a dilemma.
“If the gravel extraction is allowed to go ahead there, it would be just a few hundred yards from a new primary school and care home.”
Members of CAGE are building a £20,000 fighting fund against the council’s plan.
Earlier this year, Wallingford Museum curator Judy Dewey warned tourism and the town’s links with Agatha Christie could be damaged by the extraction of sand and gravel.