The current proposal by Oxfordshire County Council regarding gravel extraction in Cholsey in my view is an ill-conceived idea.
The effects on Cholsey, Wallingford, Brightwell and other surrounding villages will be environmentally and economically dire!
Oxfordshire County Council plans to site a new gravel pit to extract five million tonnes of sand and gravel on land between Wallingford and Cholsey, and then backfill it with waste. CAGE (Communities Against Gravel Extraction) has been set up to fight these plans that will severely damage the countryside and affect the lives of the 10,000 people who live in these two communities.
Wallingford and Cholsey are separated by just under a mile of arable and grazing farmland, hedges and trees. It is a peaceful and largely undisturbed area, supporting an amazingly wide variety of bird species and wildlife. The mining of sand and gravel will mean the loss of this natural landscape forever and the well-trodden footpaths, including the Agatha Christie Trail from Winterbrook to Cholsey Church, will be ruined. In addition, any archaeological trace will be lost, the area is rich in pre-history as well as Bronze and Iron age sites in the area.
This scheme will also threaten the Cholsey and Wallingford railway (Bunk line) which follows the route of the Agatha Christie Trail and continues to Cholsey Rail Station.
The Wallingford Road is also an important thoroughfare for many commuters travelling daily to Oxford, Reading and London from Cholsey station, and others going the other way to school, work or shopping trips in Wallingford. Apart from wrecking the scenery, the extraction of gravel and heavy lorry traffic will bring danger, noise and dirt for all the cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
The heavy traffic will also affect villages like Brightwell where the trucks moving the gravel will pass through on their way to their destinations.
Interesting to note that the gravel in this area is of poor quality!!! So is it economically viable?
Oxfordshire County Council is holding a public consultation between 5thSeptember and 31st October. We believe there are more appropriate places to site new gravel pits and that this piece of countryside should be protected for the well being of the two communities and posterity.
Please register your support for the campaign by clicking the link to the petition on this website http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cage/
More information can be found at the CAGE website @ http://www.cagegravel.org.uk/