In 2003, Parishes Against Gravel Extraction (PAGE) was formed to defend the Stadhampton-Berinsfield-Warborough-Benson area from the Oxfordshire County Council’s County Structure Plan which designated the local area as a site for sand and gravel extraction.

The 2003 PAGE alliance

PAGE was set up by the nine Parish Councils most directly affected by the proposals:  Benson, Berinsfield, Berrick Salome, Chalgrove, Dorchester-on-Thames, Drayton St Leonard, Newington, Stadhampton and Warborough.

Campaign tactics

Led by former Councillor (and now local MP) Dr John Howell, the 2003 Campaign focused on using an evidence-based approach to combat the threat. Using local expertise in archaeology, ecology, landscape impact, ecology, geology, hydrology, transport and economics, and represented by a professional team of Planning Consultants, PAGE produced a 200 page opposition document.

Local people made a difference

Local residents participated in numerous fundraising, petitioning, and campaigning activities which raised over £30,000 and submitted over 1000 letters of objection.

New discoveries!

Over 200 people joined in local field-walking exercises to gather archaeological evidence and artifacts which demonstrated the presence of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman settlements in the area. Many new artifacts were found including Roman floor and roof tiles, Roman pottery and some prestige Samian ware. In particular, the field-walking near Drayton St Leonard led to the discovery of a rare gold Cunobelin stater coin from the 1st century AD, one of only 66 in the UK.

Winning the Gravel War

PAGE demonstrated that the South East England Regional Assembly had over-allocated the County’s extraction quota in comparison to other counties. The subsequent reduction was enough to persuade Oxfordshire County Council to reduce their estimates of gravel available from the PAGE area by over 60%.

Funded by donations from the participating Parish Councils and local residents, the 2003 Campaign was successful in persuading the Government Inspector that Oxfordshire County Council had failed to to follow the required planning procedures. At that stage, this was enough to prevent the Council from going any further. The 2003 PAGE Campaign won the gravel war!

Watch the 2003 Campaign videos

A campaign video was made and sent to all the key decision makers at Oxfordshire County Council. Highlighting key county policies, the campaign team used this short video to ensure that our opposition messages got through to the right people. Now divided into two parts for easy upload to YouTube, you can now watch the campaign video online:

Part 1

Part 2