BACHPORT: Actively campaigning to protect our local countryside

Burcot & Clifton Hampden for the Protection of the River Thames

NEWS Dec 2015

Continuing Concerns following Public Exhibition on Proposed Quarry

The community wants to be properly consulted

140 people attended the public exhibition held by Hills Quarry Products at short notice. OCC Planning and the company both described it as “an unusually well-attended meeting”. Many more people would have attended had it been properly organised by Hills.

We have asked Hills to stick to their original commitments on community consultation:

  • to meet separately with the full Parish Councils of the 4 impacted villages
  • to hold an exhibition in Clifton Hampden village hall on a weekend with proper notice.

Our elected representatives are fully engaged

2 MPs are supporting our case.
3 District and 4 County councillors attended the public exhibition.
4 Parish Councils are united in their resistance to this proposal.
There are 700+ Bachport members.

Size of site: the risk of expansion

On the face of it, a smaller site and shorter working life is now proposed.
However, it is common practice for operators to grow a site by successive planning applications for extensions. In Oxfordshire since 2000:

  • planning permission has been granted for 2 new quarries and 19 quarry extensions
  • of the new tonnage granted, 93% came from these quarry extensions
  • Hills extended their quarry at Tubney Woods twice.

While Hills are saying they have no plans to extend the quarry, they’re still buying all the land for the much larger site. The risk of future extensions is very real. Guarantees have been asked for from Hills that they will not expand the quarry, including selling the surplus land to the community.

Traffic: they just don’t get it

The implications of the quarry on traffic congestion and safety is a major concern. However, the stock answer to every question is: “We’re only adding a small proportion of vehicles to an existing busy road.”

This overlooks the large difference between a 20T lorry full of gravel and a Fiat Punto.

A lorry every 6 minutes will be turning slowly on to the A415 and then squeezing through Clifton Hampden cross roads or Abingdon town centre.

No assessment has been made of the traffic flow and safety implications at the crossroads. Strong representations will be made to the Highways Agency about this.

Flooding: not out of the water yet

Hills claim that flood risk mitigation will be improved.

This is a complex subject using flood models and many assumptions – models were used in Cumbria to design their new flood defences which were overwhelmed!

We will be relying on our own experts to test and validate their claims.

Even if flooding is not higher, Hills said it could last for longer before abating. If that’s the case this might cause further traffic problems over the bridges.

Demand: no need for a new quarry in Oxfordshire

Existing quarries could supply Oxfordshire’s gravel needs for more than 18 years.

The county is only required to maintain a landbank of 7 years.

Why approve a new quarry in the Green Belt by the River Thames when it‘s not needed?

NEXT STEPS: to the barricades

A planning application is expected in January 2016.

Please keep an eye out for any communications.

We will let you know what is happening and how you can help.

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