A VILLAGER who tried to derail a business park plan at the High Court is fighting again.

Anna Hoare, of Little Coxwell, is now trying to get a new ecological survey of the ponds at Faringdon's Wicklesham Quarry site before it is developed.

Quarry operator Grundon, which has finished extracting gravel and is now restoring the site to a more natural state before it can become a business park, has submitted a planning application to vary the restoration, leaving a mound of soil in place.

Dr Hoare said she approves of the proposal in principle, because it could avoid disturbing nesting sand martins, but she says no changes to the restoration plan should be allowed until a further survey of the site's ponds – a breeding ground for Great Crested Newts – is carried out.

She has asked nature lovers to support her by commenting on Grundon's planning application to Oxfordshire County Council before the deadline of November 2.

She said: "A year ago we urged the council in the strongest terms not to allow Grundon to return to Wicklesham Quarry, but to appoint a skilled contractor to carry out the restoration under close, expert supervision.

"Please let the council know that Wicklesham's supporters are watching – make your views known to the planning consultation before November 2."

Dr Hoare's original fight to protect wildlife at the quarry against business park development was heard at the High Court in June.

Specifically, she was challenging the legality of Vale of White Horse District Council's neighbourhood plan for Faringdon.

Dr Hoare said the plan's policy that the quarry be turned into a business park contravened the council's other policies as well as national planning policy.

The fight was especially emotive because Wicklesham is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Natural England describes the 31-acre bed of 110-million-year-old fossils as 'one of Britain's richest palaeontological localities'.

In the end, Deputy High Court Judge John Howell QC upheld the Faringdon Neighbourhood Plan, but also said restoration and aftercare at the quarry must go on for at least five years.

Quarry owner and farmer Tom Allen-Stevens, who is spearheading the business park plan, said he wants a park bounded by a green ring of trees, grassland and ponds.

The father-of-four, whose family have owned the quarry for generations, has argued that his plan to create an estimated 600 jobs is the best thing for Faringdon.

He argues that, as the empty quarry currently has little or no wildlife habitat, using it to boost local employment is a 'no-brainer'.

View the current planning application at myeplanning.oxfordshire.gov.uk using reference MW.0084/17