Gravel Pit Update
Communities Against Gravel Extraction (CAGE) had been working towards an Examination in Public (EiP) in May, but in early February we started to hear through the grapevine that the Government Inspector was becoming critical of some aspects of the County Council’s (OCC) Minerals and Waste Core Strategy (CS), specifically its Duty To Co-operate with neighbouring authorities.
By the middle of the month we were informed that the County was temporarily suspending the CS until late May, using the fig leaf that there will be a newly elected council by then. This means that the EiP will not take place until at least September.
The exchange of letters between the inspector and OCC can be seen at:
and gives a graphic account of the County’s inability to take on board the advice from the Inspector. The letter of 14th February is particularly telling.
This does not mean that the threat of the imposition of a gravel pit has gone away – far from it – but it does mean that the County has been seen as having erred in its preparation of the Core Strategy. This must help us to some degree as if the County can be shown to have made a mistake in one area they might well have made others elsewhere. CAGE has always contended that OCC failed to consult properly when it selected the Cholsey site.
CAGE has alweys felt that our arguments against the imposition of the pit are strong and we are concerned that this delay will enable the County to bolster its case to our disadvantage. Certainly it is likely that the cost of our barrister will rise as there will be more work for him to do.
Wallingford Town Council and Cholsey Parish Council have contributed £5,000 and £2,500 respectively to the CAGE fighting fund, but much more is needed to ensure that we are properly represented at the EiP. If you are able to contribute please contact Hedges Law at 16 Market Olace, Wallingford.
Chair. Cholsey Parish Council