CONTROVERSIAL plans for a 104sq hectare quarry on the banks of the River Thames in Oxfordshire have moved a step closer.

The county council has now officially made a planning application to Vale of White Horse District Council to create the gravel pit near Clifton Hampden.

The district will have to approve details such as the regular access to the site off the A415 from Abingdon to Wallingford.

Hundreds of residents have objected to the quarry plan by Hills Quarry Products both on traffic and environmental grounds.

Hills wants to extract two-and-a -half-million tonnes of sand and gravel from land bordering the Thames, covering a size equivalent to 165 football pitches, over a 10-year period.

The Environment Agency has officially objected to the scheme after the company failed to appease its concerns about increased flooding risk.

Hills has made an official application to Oxfordshire County Council as the minerals authority for the area, but the county must win planning permission from the district to continue.

Members of public can see that application and access the full plans online at using reference number P17/V1989/CM