Petition update

Grundon Ltd served with Breach of Conditions Notice

Anna Hoare
Faringdon, United Kingdom

Jan 5, 2017 — Oxfordshire County Council served Grundon Ltd with a Breach of Conditions Notice on 9th December 2016, for failing to restore Wicklesham Quarry. Grundon has now been ordered to comply with the original planning conditions for restoration by 30th June 2017. There is no right of appeal to this notice, which takes immediate effect.

The list of failures to meet planning conditions is lengthy- but corresponds to what the Campaign to Protect Wicklesham Quarry has reported in earlier updates, based on Monitoring Reports sent to me.
* Topsoil bunds are still in place around the edges. They should have been cleared of trees and the soil replaced in the base of the quarry.
* Buildings, foundations and waste materials have not been removed.
* The required restorative planting scheme has not been carried out.
As supporters know from photographs published here, the County Council has also documented damage to the ponds, which are NERC S41 Priority Habitats, and must be preserved as part of the Restoration Scheme, and Grundon also failed to obtain a Mitigation Licence in respect of a European Protected Species from Natural England.

All the indications are that Grundon never expected to have to fulfil these planning conditions, and that local people's objections in 2015 on the grounds of abuse of process to Grundon's annual requests for delays since 2010 were fully justified.

We await the upshot of this Breach of Conditions Notice with interest, in view of Grundon's statement to the County Council Monitoring Officer that the landowner had requested that buildings in the quarry NOT to be removed.
In response to my official complaint, Acting Deputy Director for Infrastructure and Planning Susan Halliwell's Internal Review reported that the landowner's agent sought to have the restoration planning conditions waived in June 2015- in view of his expectation of planning permission to turn this Site of Special Scientific Interest and Conservation Target Area into an industrial warehousing site. She reported that this aspiration "carried little or no weight" and that the County Council had made it clear that the Restoration Scheme MUST be carried out by the deadline of 30th September 2016.

It seems likely Grundon might not be too pleased about carrying the can for the failure to carry out the restoration- if, indeed, their actions stem from assurances given and arrangements made at the behest of the landowner.

Local people's concern about this very special site of geo and biodiversity has increased further as evidence of determination to avoid restoring it altogether has mounted, followed by pictures of the damaged pond habitats. Supporters of the Campaign to Protect Wicklesham Quarry have continued to make their voices heard by contacting Oxfordshire County Council.
Faringdon Council, which has sought to facilitate the landowner's longstanding aim to turn the quarry into industrial warehousing by including it in the Neighbourhood Plan, has not responded to my email of the update showing the damaged ponds, and reporting on the failure to carry out the Restoration Scheme.

If you would like to see the Breach of Conditions Notice, the Restoration and Aftercare Schemes and pond conservation design, Monitoring Reports, Internal Review- or indeed ANY of the documents that have been mentioned here, please drop me an email: protectwicklesham@gmail.com.

Thank you again for your support for Wicklesham Quarry, and best wishes for a Happy New Year!