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Wicklesham Quarry: New development proposed for fossil site

Martins Creek Quarry

An English quarry that showcases dinosaur fossils is subject to a unique redevelopment that would transform it into a science and technology hub. 

The site in question is Wicklesham Quarry which is located in Faringdon, England.

Maps show the quarry was in existence around 1899. A significant change to the quarry happened in 1987 when Grundon, a waste management company in the United Kingdom, took over the site.

Through their works, the site expanded to its current size which the developer is proposing to redevelop. The quarry was in production according to reports as recently as 2015. Over its lifetime, the quarry was excavated for sands, gravels and aggregates for local use.

Wicklesham Quarry is regarded as being of important value to the scientific community. Natural England, which oversees the sites of special scientific interest, has requested that any use or development that takes place in the quarry maintains the fossils found in the quarry walls.

The site is rich in calcareous sponge fossils which are thought to be remnants from over 150 million years ago in Cretaceous times when Oxfordshire was thought to be underwater.

As a result, the developers have committed to maintaining the quarry’s fossil features and the value it provides archaeologically and ecologically as part of their redevelopment.

“(The walls will provide) new sustainable linkages to the residential areas close by so future workers can cycle and walk to work,” De Montalt Life Sciences’ Spencer Cooper told the BBC. 

The 42,286sqm (455,163sqft) development would encompass seven 25m-high  buildings as well as a data centre and two multi-storey car parks which would transform the former quarry site into a science and technology hub.

“It is close to Oxford, has excellent road communications, a good choice and supply of relatively affordable housing compared to Oxford, which our agents advise is a key issue for scientists and researchers working in the city”, Cooper told the BBC.



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