Villagers are stunned that five million tonnes of sand and gravel could still be extracted from fields near their homes — even though the idea was ruled out last year.

Oxfordshire County Council wants to extract 4.9m tonnes of aggregate from land between Cholsey and Wallingford bypass over 25 years.

It has put forward the plan because sites it supported in October, at Radley and Nuneham Courtenay, were “unlikely to be deliverable”.

And it said the Sutton Courtenay area could only provide minerals up to 2030.

The new plans will be consulted on, its cabinet agreed last Wednesday, and a public meeting will be held at Cholsey next week.

Cholsey Parish Council chairman Mark Gray told the Herald: “We are just appalled. The county council told us they had put the strategy on hold, and then last week they did not even tell us about the plans. It was just in the cabinet papers — the spectre of a huge gravel pit outside the village.”

About 360 homes are being built on the site of the former Fair Mile Hospital near the village and developers are also looking to build hundreds of homes in the nearby Winterbrook area of Wallingford.

Mr Gray said: “We feel like the village is under siege.

“For one village to have all these developers, it is just too much.”

Steve Thompson, a spokesman for the Parishes Against Extraction campaign group, said: “Cholsey is not one of the parishes we represented but I am sure the residents of Cholsey will be gutted by this latest decision.

“The county council policy on mineral extraction has been so long-winded that it could create in-fighting between different communities.

“It’s not satisfactory for the county council to keep changing its mind on locations for extraction.”

A county council report said: “The assessment work completed to date points to the Cholsey area (between Cholsey and Wallingford bypass) as being the least constrained.

“It has good access to the lorry route network and is closer (by road) to areas of demand for construction materials in southern Oxfordshire, particularly Didcot and the Science Vale area.”

It added: “The interim preferred strategy for mineral working agreed by cabinet in October 2010 has been tested for deliverability using these supply levels against a preliminary assessment of potential sites.

“This identifies that the Radley/Nuneham Courtenay area is unlikely to be deliverable and that the Sutton Courtenay area can only provide for part of the plan period to 2030.”

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “Any decision about this proposed site would be subject to public consultation.”

The council has agreed to consult on sand and gravel extraction at Lower Windrush Valley, Eynsham, Cassington, Yarnton, Sutton Courtenay, Cholsey and Caversham. Soft sand would be extracted at south-east Faringdon, Tubney, Marcham, Hinton Waldrist and Duns Tew, and crushed rock would be taken from land north of Bicester to the east of the River Cherwell, south of the A40 near Burford and south-east of Faringdon.

The consultation will begin in June or July.

The public meeting to discuss the plans will be held at Cholsey Scout Hall on Thursday, March 3, at 7.30pm. For more details, call Mr Gray on 07971 805416.