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Join gravel protesters in 'Murder by the Bunkline'
CAMPAIGNERS in Wallingford want residents to jump on board their protest against gravel extraction, at a fundraising day of action.
On Sunday, Communities Against Gravel Extraction (Cage) will join forces with the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway to stage a peaceful protest.
It is the latest demonstration by residents who fear the planned gravel pit will damage the town as a tourist destination.
Cage spokesman Kellie Nicholson said: “The protest will be called ‘Murder by the Bunkline’ to reflect the fact that Agatha Christie lived with her second husband in Winterbrook and is buried in St Mary’s Church, Cholsey.
“We are arguing that local tourism being generated by this and other features of historical importance will also be affected by the gravel pits.”
In March, the county council’s cabinet agreed its minerals and waste plan for Oxfordshire. Despite opposition from residents, the proposal to dig five million tonnes of gravel from fields between Cholsey and Wallingford was included in the plan. Members of the action group vowed to fight the plans at an examination in public in the autumn.
As part of the protest on Sunday, the railway will be running a special service, with residents gathering at either end of the line.
Ms Nicholson added: “The event will also help gather funds for our legal case, with groups joining together to collect donations.”
Cage member Bernard Stone, former mayor of Walliingford, revealed that £22,000 has now been raised to hire lawyers to put the group’s case at the examination in public.
He added: “The fundraising has been going well, but when barristers get involved it can cost a lot of money so the fundraising target at the moment is £30,000.”
According to the county council’s minerals and waste plan, 1.2 million tonnes a year could be dug in Oxfordshire, from the Lower Windrush Valley, Eynsham, Cassington, Yarnton, Sutton Courtenay and Caversham, with Cholsey replacing Sutton Courtenay from 2020 for 25 years.
Cabinet member for growth and infrastructure Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said Cholsey was a suitable site because of a lack of constraints, closeness to developers needing gravel and good transport links.
- For more information on Sunday’s event, visit the Cage website