The Stonehenge Farm Quarry Application

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stonehenge Farm: the Planning Appeal

OUTRAGE has been informed that the Public Inquiry into Hanson's Appeal against Oxfordshire County Council's refusal to grant planning permission to extract sand and gravel from Stonehenge Farm will start on 17 November 2009 at 10am in Northmoor Village Hall. It is currently expected to last for three or four days.

OUTRAGE has registered itself as a Rule 6 third party to the Appeal, the other two parties being the Appellant (Hanson) and the Local Planning Authority (OCC). Col Terry Kirkpatrick has also registered as a Rule 6 third party on behalf of the residents of Moreton. This means that Terry and ourselves will have the right to present our case in detail, to call witnesses and to cross examine the witnesses of the Appellant. It also means that we will be open to cross examination. All the parties will present their cases before an independently appointed Inspector whose job is to assess the evidence on both sides in the light of minerals planning policy and to come to a fair decision.

OUTRAGE has decided that we need - now more than ever - to employ a lawyer who specialises in environmental planning law to represent us. This will cost money and over the course of the autumn OUTRAGE will be organising a number of fundraising events. We shall need all the combined talents of our villages, all the ideas and volunteers that we can muster. If you would like to help please be in touch with us.

We have come a long way since February 2004 when Hanson first told us of their intention to apply for permission to dig up Stonehenge Farm. We have written dozens of letters, attended many meetings with OCC and the Environment Agency, participated in minerals planning consultation exercises, monitored violations of HGV traffic routeing agreements, commissioned a botanical report of the site, lobbied our MP and County Councillors, made formal public addresses to OCC Planning Committee meetings, and much else.

In all of this we have had generous support from all our six villages: Northmoor, Moreton, Bablockhythe, Standlake, Stanton Harcourt and Sutton. Your help in raising money for legal representation last year was invaluable. We have also had the strong support of our County Councillor, Charles Mathew, our District Councillors Brenda Smith and Hilary Fenton, and of all the three Parish Councils: Northmoor, Standlake and Stanton Harcourt.

So far we have managed to keep Hanson at bay. The Public Inquiry on November 17th and the following days will be the final test and we aim to give it our all. Please help us to make the best of our case. If we don't stop Hanson at Stonehenge Farm, the next 8 to 10 years will be blighted by the noise, dust, traffic of a major extraction site on our doorstep. Northmoor's quiet village road will be tunnelled under by a conveyor carrying gravel up to Linch Hill all day long. It will be flanked on one side of the crossing by a hooded shute about seven foot high into which a raised conveyor will pour gravel onto another conveyor in the tunnel below. On the other side there will be cabinets containing electrical transformers and switchgear. What was once a quiet country walk along the footpath down to the river will now run alongside the conveyor and beside pits and machinery. Riders along the bridle path to the north of the road will have a difficult and possibly frightening time crossing the conveyor. As for the risk of flooding, Hanson has not been able to give us any credible assurance that this will not be increased.

If you would like to give a donation or to help in any way, we would be very grateful.

The Outrage Campaign now has a new email address: