A PUBLIC inquiry into plans to extract 1.5m tonnes of sand and gravel from a farm in West Oxfordshire has opened.

Hanson Aggregates appealed after Oxfordshire county councillors rejected officers’ advice and turned down plans for a 146 acre extraction site at Stonehenge Farm, near Northmoor. Villagers had raised fears the plan could increase flooding risks and cause traffic problems.

Robert Hanson, representing the county council, told the inquiry yesterday those issues had now been tackled by the company.

But campaign group Oxfordshire Upper Thames Residents Against Gravel Extraction (Outrage), and local residents are fighting on.

Outrage spokesman Charles Hopkins said: “The site will be transformed into what will appear to the innocent bystander as the Western Front, rather than West Oxfordshire.”