RESUBMITTED plans for fresh gravel extraction in Wallingford has been met with criticism as the decision date looms ahead.

Aggregate suppliers London Rock previously applied for permission in 2018 to extract 550,000 tonnes of minerals at White Cross Farm, near Wallingford and then construct a 280-berth marina on the site once quarrying had finished and the pit filled with water.

Oxfordshire County Council rejected the plans in 2020 for several reasons including a lack of demand for new moorings.

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Herald Series: The proposed site in North Wallingford.The proposed site in North Wallingford. (Image: Google)

The quarrying company submitted a new application in partnership with the landowners to just extract 550,000 tonnes of minerals over a potential 19 hectares without the marina proposals.

However the plans, which would include extraction for four to five years with an anticipated 140,000 tonnes extracted per year, have been met with criticism from local companies and environmental campaign groups ahead of the decision date next month.

Wallingford Town Council has recommended the application by objected by Oxfordshire County Council on the basis the site is ‘not suitable for aggregate extraction’.

The authority said: “It is within the setting of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) a designated exceptional landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest.”

Herald Series: The marina which was rejected in 2020.The marina which was rejected in 2020. (Image: Google)

Chilterns Conservation Board, a public body established to conserve and enhance the Chilterns AONB, added: “This proposal harms the AONB during the operational and restoration periods.

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“Harms to the setting of the AONB will be clear, with a denuded and quasi-industrial landscape juxtaposed with the AONB”.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CRPE) Oxford supports the objections adding that the Thames Path is a ‘very popular’ National Trail long-distance walking and running route.

It said: “The section between Cholsey and Wallingford, which passes through the White Cross Farm site, is also heavily used by local people for recreation, exercise and observing wildlife.

“Spending time beside the river helps people improve their mental and physical health. This part of the Thames is also heavily used by river users, fishing, boating, canoeing and bathers, the attraction of these activities is to spend time in the tranquil and natural environment – this would be destroyed by the proposed industrial works on this site.

“It is worth adding that the bright blue flash of kingfishers is regularly seen along these banks – a memorable sight.”

Herald Series: Developers reapplied without the marina believing the reason for rejection was the lack of need for it.Developers reapplied without the marina believing the reason for rejection was the lack of need for it. (Image: n/a)

Adrian Duffield, head of planning at South Oxfordshire District Council, also objects to the application due to the ‘sensitive location’ of the site.

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Despite the criticism, Simon Rees, an agent for London Rock, said the plans have ‘no adverse impacts’ which outweigh the benefits of the proposals.

The target for a decision to be made on the plans is next month on November 29.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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