Campaigners from Faringdon fighting to save a unique quarry site ‘for future generations’ are aiming to raise £20,000 to fund a court battle.
The action group ‘Protect Wicklesham Quarry from Development’ has already raised £10,200 to submit an application for a judicial review against local planning teams on June 14 and 15.
Now they have stretched the target amount in order to cover all legal costs of the hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice.
The campaigners say the quarry, which offers a rich site for paleontological and scientific research, is under threat of being turned into a 20-acre industrial warehousing site.
Faringdon resident Anna Hoare, who is leading the appeal, said: “I’ve lived here for 30 years and during that time Wicklesham Quarry has been fenced off and closed to the public.
“Like many local people I knew of its incredible importance as a site of special scientific interest and have always looked forward to it being restored to agricultural land.
“When I was collecting signatures for my petition in Faringdon older people who grew up here were full of stories about how they’d head up there after school to collect fossils and watch the wildlife. I would love to think that generations of local children might one day be able to do that again.”
Previously she said the case raises questions on the democratic accountability of the Faringdon neighbourhood plan, saying that some of the landowners are closely involved with the steering group.
Sarah Allen-Stevens, who is in the steering group, said: “It makes sense to speak to the landowners to find out their opinion on development to their land. I don’t financially benefit from what happens to the quarry at all.”
She added: “It would be an employment and commercial site, which would also be accessible to tourists. My interest is to bring employment to rural areas. If you put a lot of new housing in then that should be matched equally with jobs.”
Tom Allen-Stevens, farmer and the landowner at Wicklesham Lodge Farm, said: “Whatever the future of the quarry, the SSSI and in particular the geological value of the exposed quarry faces is something we’d always want to preserve. If the centre of the quarry is developed, the perimeter will be enhanced and planted with native grasses and wildflowers, along with the ponds, that I hope will in time become a wildlife haven.”
To donate to the ‘Protect Wicklesham quarry group’ visit https://tinyurl.com/y9mvxs23.