Campaigners celebrate as sand extraction plan blocked
CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to quarry sand from fields near their homes are scenting victory following an eight-year battle to block the plan.
Construction company Hanson wants to extract 880,000 tonnes of sand for building work from 70 acres of land off Pine Woods Road, in Longworth.
But Hanson is now considering lodging an appeal after Oxfordshire County Council blocked the application, saying there was no need for the site and it would have a detrimental impact on the area.
Alan Boyce, clerk of Longworth Parish Council and chairman of campaign group Land not Sand, said: “We’re delighted that the county council agrees that the proposed quarry is in the wrong place, and simply isn’t needed.
“We hope that Hanson will now recognise the futility of appealing against this decision and focus their resources on developing their existing sites”.
The company first put in a planning application in 2009 but withdrew it after the council said more details were needed.
Land not Sand spokesman Richard Kenyon said the plan was first put forward eight years ago.
He added: “We’re not jubilant yet, because they could always appeal.
“But our belief is the appeal would be pointless.”
Hanson spokesman David Weeks said: “We are pretty frustrated that at the eleventh hour the council has come up with some reasons for refusal and not given us the chance to see if we can tackle them.
“We are considering our next steps, which could result in an appeal.”
The council’s planning and regulation committee made the decision on Monday.
Councillors also gave permission for building firm H Tuckwell and Sons to process gravel and sand from an existing quarry close to its site near Radley Lakes, reducing lorry movements in the area.
Previously the company had processed materials brought in from other sites.
Campaigners had raised concerns about the amount of heavy traffic the operation generated along the narrow Thrupp Lane.
Residents are still hoping that an alternative access will be created to the site from Audlett Drive, in Abingdon.
Mark Baker, of the Vale of White Horse branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The CPRE still believes heavy goods vehicles have no place at all on Thrupp Lane.
“It really is for the council to find a solution.”