A team of consultants has slammed proposals for a huge sand and gravel quarry between Clifton Hampden and Culham. The company was drafted in by Oxfordshire County Council to assess the likely impact a quarry would have on the landscape.
In a wide-ranging report Adams Habermehl of Sutton Courtenay says: “With overview of the project and assessment process it appears highly likely that the proposals will lead to significant adverse landscape and visual effects over an extended period, leading to major and unacceptable impacts.”
“In the meantime and to the extent that the scheme could not be supported or accommodated on landscape grounds we propose continuing an ‘in principle’ landscape objection to the application scheme.”
There is widespread opposition to the quarry led by Bachport – Burcot & Clifton Hampden for the Protection of the River Thames – whose spokesman Giles Baxter said: “We have always maintained that the quarry will have an unacceptable impact on a beautiful section of the River Thames within the Oxford Green Belt. Better alternative sites with limited impact on the landscape are available”.
In a further development, the quarry company have refused access for a world renowned tree expert to survey up to 40 trees that may warrant special consideration under National Planning Policy.
Mr Baxter said: “This is yet another instance of the applicant demonstrating their preparedness to dig first and ask questions afterwards, rather than, as national policy requires, identify features of the landscape that have special significance and plan their scheme around them”.
It was hoped that the county council’s planning committee would discuss the quarry application from Hills Quarry Products at its September meeting. But now because of the amount of new information which has to be collated it’s likely that the issue won’t be discussed by the committee until October or November.