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20 November 2003
TV Stars back battle to save ancient sites

Raquel from British TV comedy 'Only Fools and Horses' is helping a group of Oxfordshire (England) villages campaign against plans to extract gravel. Actress Tessa Peake-Jones and her actor husband Douglas Hodge have recorded the voice-overs on a new 15-minute protest video being sent to politicians and broadcasters.
     It has been made for the protest group Page (Parishes Against Gravel Extraction) in a bid to get Oxfordshire County Council to drop the proposal from the draft version of the County Structure Plan. The county has proposed land in the Benson, Stadhampton and Chalgrove areas as its first choice for new gravel pits. If the Page campaign succeeds, the second choice of land round Wallingford and Moulsford could be considered. Wallingford Town Council is backing Page - and preparing to run its own campaign on the issue if necessary.
     The area between Warborough, Benson and Berrick Salome, on land threatened by sand and gravel extraction, archaeologists and local volunteers have revealed evidence for Neolithic and Bronze Age activity.
     Mr Hodge said: "We live in the area affected and can see how devastating gravel extraction would be. We live here because of the privacy and the beauty of the area and both of us believe this would rip the heart out of local communities." Ms Peake-Jones and Mr Hodge, who live near Wallingford, are joined in the voice-overs by South Oxfordshire District Council leader Ann Ducker and experts who have conducted surveys of the area's importance for archaeology, ecology and the landscape.

Source: This is Oxfordshire (18 November 2003)

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