Quarry plans unveiled

Plans for a ‘gigantic’ sand and gravel quarry near Clifton Hampden have been unveiled by planners.

Swindon-based Hills Quarry Products published the designs last Thursday ahead of a public exhibition in Abingdon next week.

The earmarked site is south of the A415, opposite Culham Science Park and runs across fields and alongside the River Thames.

Hills’ proposals are to extract 2.5m tonnes of sand and gravel over 10 years, with the sand to be dug using a loading shovel.

Campaign group Bachport (Burcot & Clifton Hampden for the Protection of the River Thames) object to the plans and have 700 registered supporters.

Ian Mason, of Bachport, said: “We adamantly believe this development is not needed. It will have a massive impact on the community.

“On the face of it, Hills’ plans are gigantic, but smaller than we anticipated. However, we believe these plans will be extended in the future.”

Mr Mason added Bachport believes Oxfordshire has enough quarries to provide enough gravel for the county.

Councillors met with Hills representatives to discuss the proposals last Thursday at Appleford Village Hall.

Sue Lawson, newly elected South Oxfordshire district councillor for Clifton Hampden, said: “It’s a huge issue for the area. The biggest issue I took from the meeting was that there is expected to be a massive increase in traffic.

“This would be coming in and out of the quarry and this will add to which is already a very heavily-congested traffic area.”

The quarry would be called Fullamoor Quarry.

Designs show plans to fill in the quarry with one lake for wildlife and one lake  for angling and small vessel sailing after digging has finished.

Feedback from the exhibition is to shape a planning application Hills is hoping to submit to Oxfordshire County Council early next year.

Peter Andrew, group director for Hills, said: “We have substantially altered our proposal and we are now inviting those interested to come to a public exhibition and find out more about the revised proposal.”

Hills originally unveiled larger plans in April 2014 to extract 4.75m tonnes of mineral from the site over 25 years but these have since been scaled down.

The meeting is at Abingdon Vale Cricket Club off Culham Road next Wednesday, November 25, from 12.30pm to 8pm.