PLANS to create a 320-berth marina in Wallingford would involve gravel extraction, a county councillor has warned.

London Rock Supplies Ltd and White Cross Projects Partnership will later this month stage an exhibition on their proposals for the Thames Marina on land at White Cross Farm, with a new access route onto Reading Road.

The proposed facility will accommodate moorings for a wide variety of boats.

But county councillor Lynda Atkins said she was opposed to the proposals because they featured plans to extract gravel.

She added: “This is a gravel extraction application in disguise.

“I am not aware that anyone in Wallingford has expressed the desire to see a new marina built.

“There was one a number of years ago, where the university rowing club boathouse is now situated, but that closed quite a few years ago.

“The developers will ask for permission to extract gravel from the riverside site and then it will be less costly for them to create a marina, rather than properly reinstate the land.

“The application would have be considered by the county council as that is the local authority overseeing gravel extraction.

“I would expect the developers to submit their application following the consultation meeting.

“Gravel extraction like this would be very disruptive for Wallingford and the surrounding area.”

Ms Atkins added that a different gravel extraction pit was already planned between Wallingford and Cholsey at New Barn Farm and work could start there later this year.

Marina facilities including a building with a shop and restaurant are part of the plans being put forward.

As part of the scheme a walking route around the marina to connect with the Thames Path National Trail is also proposed.

Developers said the plans were consistent with the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011, which states: "The River Thames is an important recreational

resource and is used for pleasure boating and for rowing."

A spokesman for the developer added: “To create the marina basin construction would take about five years. It is proposed that 550,000 tonnes of sand and gravel reserves will be extracted.”

The consultation exhibition will take place at The George Hotel, High Street, Wallingford, on January 24 from 2pm to 8pm.