To consider a report of the Director of
Economy, Transport and Environment regarding an application for
development of chalk quarry with reinstatement to agriculture using
imported inert materials, together with ancillary development
include site office, wheel wash, weighbridge, new access and drying
shed at Land adjacent to A339, Basingstoke Road, Manor Farm, Monk
Sherborne (Application No. 18/01064/CMA)
(Site Ref: BA176).
Development of chalk quarry with reinstatement to agriculture using imported inert materials, together with ancillary development include site office, wheel wash, weighbridge, new access and drying shed at Land adjacent A339, Basingstoke Road, Manor Farm, Monk Sherborne RG26 (EIA) (Application No. 18/01064/CMA) (Site Ref: BA176)
The Committee considered a report from the Head of Strategic Planning (item 7 in the minute book) regarding an application for an existing chalk quarry, which provided mineral to 200 farms. Photos of the proposed access point at Basingstoke Road and Kingsclere Road junction were shown and it was confirmed that due to safety with parking, there had not been a site visit by Members.
There were objections to the application from the Highways Authority as well as the Flood Authority and the application was recommended for refusal based on inadequate access to the site, causing safety concerns, significant adverse impact upon the distinctive character of the landscape and also failure to demonstrate that the proposed development meets policy 11 (Flood Risk and Prevention).
There was one deputation on this item on behalf of the applicant. Alison Crooks told Committee how there had been no public objections to the application and that the drainage issues had been addressed to mitigate concerns regarding flooding. An alternative access had been proposed but this was felt inappropriate due to the additional impacts on the landscape. There were concerns over the risk to the business if the application was rejected both regarding the impact on employees and the farms that used the mineral. Mike Delgarno told Committee how the business had been running for over 30 years and the quarry income would be detrimental in keeping employees at the site. Tom Ormisher spoke from the National Farmers Union and raised his concerns regarding the farms that would be effected should the application be refused and that Policy 23 in the Minerals and Waste Plan recognised the need for agricultural chalk. The quarry provided a local supply of chalk, which was particularly important considering the potential impacts of BREXIT.
During questions of the deputations, the following points were clarified:
· A landscape visual impact assessment had been sent and other fields had been looked at regarding access
· The impact on highways had been researched and an impact assessment had been done alongside a safety audit
· It was felt that matters could be resolved if there was more time
During questions of the officers, the following points were clarified:
· The access proposed was too close to the road junction and could not be moved further along the road due to visibility issues with dips in the road, as well as substantial hedgerow growth on third party land.
· An alternative had been suggested to the applicant but this had not been pursued.
· There were no reported accidents along the road
The Head of Strategic Transport confirmed that a lot of work had been invested by officers to try and make the proposals work and the decision to refuse the application had not been taken lightly.
Members agreed that whilst there were justified safety concerns, the quarry was of great importance and it was in the interests of the County and local farms that it remain open if possible.
Councillor Roger Price proposed that the application be deferred to allow the applicant more time to rectify the issues and also for officers to look at a potential site visit. This was seconded by Councillor Rod Copper and put to the vote.
That the application be deferred until October 2019 to allow more information to be collated from the applicant and give more opportunity for the current issues to be rectified.