Stop the new quarry in Dorset AONB

Stop the new quarry in Dorset AONB

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Stop the new quarry in Dorset AONB started this petition to Dorset Council (Strategic Planning Committee)

Yet another corner of unspoilt rural Britain is under threat from development.
Aggregate Industries want to create a new quarry at Westford Park Farm, on the banks of the River Axe in the designated Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), in the parish of Thorncombe, Dorset.

Last year a Planning Application for the scheme was refused by Dorset Council on 6th September. On 14th December 2021 a very similar application was submitted.

The grounds for the rejection of the previous application are unchanged by the changes to the scheme, which is contrary to policy DM4 of the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Minerals Strategy (2014) and paragraphs 176 and 177 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Please see below for details of how to object via the Dorset Council Planning Register website.

The headlines:

  • 55 acres of protected unspoilt AONB land to be lost forever
  • 830,000 tonnes to be extracted over 7 years (revised figure)
  • 120 HGV lorry journeys per day
  • Widespread noise and pollution
  • Severe impact on local dwellings
  • Loss of wildlife habitat

Last year we engaged a team of specialist lawyers and a mining engineer / quarry design specialist to produce a legal and technical case against the quarry going ahead. We have engaged the mining engineer / quarry design specialist again to report on the current scheme. The report shows the environmental impact and technical shortcomings of the quarry, and that the proposed restoration scheme cannot be implemented.

Please help out if you can with the estimated legal and professional fees of £8600 needed to fight this application to quarry in, and therefore destroy, this beautiful protected AONB. Any donation no matter how big or small will be greatly appreciated. We are no longer working with CrowdJustice.com. If you are able to help by making a donation please email stop.dorset.quarry@gmail.com

The proposal

The proposal is to form a new area of sand and gravel extraction linked to the existing Chard Junction Quarry. However, this is not close so they need to construct a completely new haul road over open fields at a high level.

The proposed new quarry covers an area of approximately 55 acres. This will provide approximately 830,000 tonnes of sand and gravel, over an estimated 7 years.

We are very concerned about the lack of a robust consultation process. It is acknowledged that there were public exhibitions in 2018 but very little consultation since then. The vast majority of the residents of Chilson, Chilson Common, Perry Street, South Chard, Tatworth and Thorncombe are unaware of the way in which this application is now being pursued.

The consequences of allowing this development are huge and will impact adversely on both the local community and the environment over a large area:

Environmental damage - Westford Park Farm lies within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a national network of areas legally protected to ensure their survival for future generations. It is also upstream of the River Axe Special Area of Conservation (SAC) / Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This will be adversely affected by any development upstream. Natural England advises that the new quarry should be considered as "major" in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework. As a consequence any proposals should be required to meet the policy’s "exceptional circumstances" test. ‘Exceptional circumstances’ need all three criteria (i.e. the national and local need, cost and scope for developing elsewhere, and the environmental effect (and scope for moderating it) to be satisfied. We believe these criteria have not been met.

Local dwellings - great disturbance and loss of amenity will be suffered by people living in the area, especially Westford Cottages, Westford Park Cottages, Westford Park Farm and the hamlets of Chilson and Chilson Common on the other side of the River Axe valley.

Transportation and Traffic - We note with great concern the proposal for 60 outward HGV journeys i.e. 120 round trips daily to and from the site. The vast majority will be through Perry Street at Dykes Hill - the existing number of HGV movements are already causing problems.

Noise, Air Quality and Dust - The area is in a natural amphitheatre which will amplify the noise created to make it audible over a wide area. Despite proposed mitigation measures air pollution from the site will spread over a large area due to its exposed location.

Nature Conservation and Ecology - It is inevitable that there will be destruction of wildlife through the removal of 453 metres of long-standing hedges and other destruction of the natural environment that has developed for centuries.

The only justification for this development is financial benefit for the developer, Aggregate Industries. Their parent company is Swiss based Holcim (recently rebranded from LafargeHolcim). This company is a member of the American Petroleum Institute – a powerful Washington lobby group accused of obstructing climate change initiatives.

The application can be viewed on the Dorset Council website - www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk - search for Westford Park Farm under Search for a Planning Application - Minerals and Waste. Ref: P/FUL/2022/00109
There is a link to comment on the application on each page - please use this to add your own objections.

Please sign and share this petition to let Dorset Council know the community thinks this development is totally unacceptable.

The Planning Committee Meeting to decide this is currently set for Friday 18th March 2022.

 

 

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