The fight continues to stop a huge quarry on land near Clifton Hampden. Despite the county council’s planning committee having rejected previous proposals, Hills Quarry Products has produced a revised application.
Objectors say the new application still fails to answer major concerns. They argue that heavy lorries using the quarry would still increase congestion and pollution on a busy main road and the quarry would cause immense damage to a precious rural landscape in Oxford’s Green Belt.
In addition quarry opponents say the county council has sufficient supplies of sand and gravel to last more than two decades so there is no urgency for any new sites.
In November the county’s planning committee voted overwhelmingly to reject the original application. The company had until the end of May to lodge an appeal but instead has resubmitted the application with two minor amendments.
Hills says it has addressed objectors’ concerns. The number of HGVs using the site has been reduced from nine to eight lorries an hour. Annual production of sand and gravel will be reduced by 50,000 tonnes extending the operating life of the site to 12.5 years.
The size of the quarry has gone down from 165 hectares to 104. The original plans included a concrete plant, but the company removed this from the scheme before the first application came to committee.
The re-vamped proposals have however failed to impress the objectors led by Bachport (Burcot and Clifton Hampden to Protect the River Thames). Bachport has more than 800 members backed by four neighbouring parish councils, county councillors and two MPs. South Oxfordshire District Council, Abingdon Town Council, and the UKAEA at Culham Science Centre also lodged objections to the previous application.
Bachport spokesman Giles Baxter said: “This fresh move from Hills suggests they know the application is deeply flawed, and they could not win an appeal. It will destroy this scenic local landscape by the River Thames for a generation and cause immense harm to the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. No amount of tinkering with the number of lorry movements gets over the plain fact that this quarry is an inappropriate development in the Green Belt with no special circumstances to justify it.”
View the planning application here.
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