Burcot & Clifton Hampden for the Protection of the River Thames
We expect the planning application for the gravel pit to be submitted soon and Bachport is ready to respond when it comes. In this update we will focus on one key issue: for how long will the gravel pit disrupt our lives?
At the public exhibition in November, Hills Quarry Products made much of a reduction in the planned life of the gravel pit from an initially proposed 25 years to a revised plan of 10 years. On the face of it, a significant reduction that some people have taken comfort from. However, this all depends on the gravel pit not being extended once initial planning permission has been granted. The evidence here is much less comforting.
It is common practice for operators to enlarge the size and prolong the life of a gravel pit by successive planning applications for extensions. In Oxfordshire since 2000, planning permission has been granted for 2 new gravel pits and 19 gravel pit extensions. Of new tonnage granted, 93% came from quarry extensions.
While Hills say they have ‘no plans’ to extend the site, they are still buying all the land for the larger site (and they extended their nearby Tubney Wood gravel pit twice). Once the infrastructure for a gravel pit is in place, it makes economic sense to dig up surrounding land to quarry. The risk is real that if initial planning permission is granted, the life of this gravel pit will be extended to at least 25 years. We take no comfort from the 10 year proposal.
Therefore, the key to this battle is to make sure planning permission is not granted for a gravel pit in the first place. We have a strong case and strong support, and can get this application rejected. We will be asking for your help – likely at relatively short notice – to write letters and emails as soon as the narrow window for public consultation is open, so please keep a lookout on this website and for emails from us. Thank you for your continued support.