Author Archives: Eric Rayner

Major new quarry planned on edge of village

Pasture House Farm

A major new sand and gravel quarry covering almost 60 hectares may be developed at Pasture House Farm, Thorney.

An application for planning permission for the quarry is about to be submitted to Peterborough City Council.

The site is south of the A47 and east of Willow Hall Lane and so sits at the other side of Willow Hall Lane to the existing quarry at Pode Hole Farm.

The plans show a new access road onto Willow Hall Lane and also allow for the screening of the site using embankments and planting. The A47 would be widened to allow a right-turn lane to be built for trucks entering Willow Hall Lane and Willow Hall Lane would also be widened as far as the quarry access.

As sand and gravel is extracted in stages, the land will be used as a dump and eventually restored to its current level so it can revert to agricultural use.

Planning documents released by the developers talk of the plan being to “permanently deposit inert waste residues into the land in accordance with modern waste management practices.”

The plans include a processing plant, concrete manufacturing centre and a recycling facility.

The life of the quarry is projected to be 20 years, with 170,000 tonnes of sand and gravel extracted each year, and a further five years needed to restore the land once quarrying is complete.

Included within the site is a Roman farmstead with associated field enclosure systems and droveways visible on aerial photographs. Roman pottery has been found in the general area. There is also evidence of a mediaeval kiln and a 16th century windmill. The old Cat’s Water River runs along the site’s western boundary.

A detailed document drawn up by the developers and including location plans can be seen here and you can see a higher-resolution image of the site plan here.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “This project is huge and potentially quite disruptive and will need to be studied by Thorney and Eye Parish Councils respectively.”

Sandpit Road housing developers want to hear village views

Developers of the new housing estate at the end of Sandpit Road are keen to hear the views of Thorney residents.

They say these will be taken into consideration before final plans are drawn up.

An exhibition, showing the proposed layout of the estate, was held at the Bedford Hall on Thursday and about a hundred people attended. Many left response forms.

Peter Moore of development consultants Bletsoes told Thorney Post the reaction from people visiting had been generally positive. A few suggestions had been noted and people who weren’t able to make it can still comment via e-mail: peter.moore@bletsoes.co.uk.

A planning application is likely to go to the Peterborough City Council this month and building work may start in late 2016 or early 2017.

The mix of homes will include small terraces, semi-detached, detached and bungalows and housing density will be relatively low – around 25 homes per hectare, compared to 30-35 on most new developments.

Library self-service access still not working

Thorney Library

The future of Thorney Library is being put in jeopardy by the failure of an automatic-access system.

Earlier this year, a review of library opening hours across the city saw a plan to reduce the hours libraries would be staffed to cut costs, but to introduce a new self-service system so people could use libraries at other times.

Until May this year, Thorney Library in Church Street was open for 21 hours per week and the new system should have seen it available for 25 hours – only 10 of which would be staffed. At other times, people should have been able to use a key card to open the door.

However, the city council hasn’t been able to make the out-of-hours entry system work properly so the village’s library service has been restricted to manned opening hours only.

The problem with the access system seems to be a simple door-closer to shut the inner lobby door. Because the door has an unusual shape (it’s pointed at the top, like a Gothic arch) a regular door-closer can’t be fitted.

Now, the Parish Council has asked for a full explanation why the library is not open as promised and what’s being done to sort things out.

“The building may have a few particular problems as it is an older and Listed building but Thorney Parish Council is now very concerned that this long delay is jeopardising the welfare of the Library,” a Parish Council spokesman said.

“At present it is only accessible for a total of 10 hours a week, which is less than half the hours it was open before the changes were implemented.”

Parish Councillors say there was a complete lack of foresight by the City Council, altering staffing hours before the automatic system was properly tried and tested.

“Although we feel angry and frustrated by this, we feel even more frustrated and angered by the apparent lack of expertise in getting the automatic system into working order. We are led to believe that what is needed is a door-closer system that will properly close the inner lobby door. We are aware that the door has an unusual shape that prevents the use of a conventional closer but surely it cannot beyond the expertise of a City Council and its contractors to find a workable alternative.”

Top-rated business is forced to close by planners

Battlefield Live logo

Battlefield Live, a war-games business based on French Drove, has been forced to close after losing a planning appeal.

The business, which was rated number one in Peterborough in the Fun and Games category on Trip Advisor, was started in 2011 and has been operating for the past couple of years on temporary planning permission.

Despite Peterborough City Council officers recommending the application, it was turned down by councillors following objections by residents concerned about noise.

Business owner, Nigel Simons, appealed against that decision, but heard in April that the planning tribunal had upheld the original decision. he was hoping to keep ticking along until the business was able to relocate, but was finally forced to close this month.

“We had no choice but to close. I’m still hoping that I might be able to buy or rent a couple of acres of land somewhere else in the village,” he said.

“I don’t want to be bitter, I have to take it on the chin, but it’s a shame that facts have been distorted. I guess people are just worried that the business will affect their house prices.”

The planning inspector’s report said the business would have a detrimental impact on people’s well-being, but Nigel says the noise is no worse than a children’s football match.

“Sound engineers employed by objectors set up noise monitors and in a 12-day period they recorded just 85 seconds of noise,” he said.

Battlefield Live employed five people and is a war game, similar to paintball, but uses guns which fire bolts of infra-red light and can “hit” a target at much greater distances.

It is marketed as being suitable for ages seven to 70 and most business has been from children’s parties. The Duke of Bedford School had visited twice and Nigel has also hosted sessions for disadvantaged children.

Woburn Drive housing plans revealed

Larkfleet Homes has announced detailed plans for housing development at the end of Woburn Drive, Thorney.

On Tuesday this week, Thorney Parish Councillors, Russ Bevington, David Buddle and John Bartlett, along with Peterborough City Councillor, Richard Brown, met with Mark Mann and Jonathan Wells from Larkfleet Homes, to discuss their forthcoming planning application with Peterborough City Council. This will be submitted by the end of July 2015.

Larkfleet Homes has outline planning consent to build 80 houses on this site at the end of Woburn Drive.

Larkfleet has now said that 24 will be classed as social housing (four one-bedroom houses, 13 two-bedroom houses and seven three-bedroom houses) and  70 per cent of these will be rented, with the rest being shared-equity housing.  Parking will be in designated areas off the highway.  

At this stage Larkfleet Homes could not say who the social landlord will be.  John Bartlett, chairman of Thorney Parish Council said that he knew our MP, Stuart Jackson, was concerned about the high proportion of social housing and that he would be speaking to the Planning Department.

The remaining 56 homes will be privately owned and all will have garages and solar panels on their roofs. There will be three-bedroom, four-bedroom and five-bedroom houses.

There is a public open area with a pond to take all the surface water that drains off this site. Each property will contribute yearly to this open space provision.  

Work on site could start in November 2015 once “Reserved Matters” are approved.  This would be constructing the road and laying of all the services.  The building work is estimated to take two years.

Thorney Parish Council has asked Larkfleet Homes if they will arrange a manned display in the village, so residents of Thorney can see what is planned and ask questions of the developer.  

The Parish Council is urging people to contact Larkfleet to press for this to happen. Contact is Louise Harrison on 01733 207347 or louise.harrison@athene-communications.co.uk

80 Homes planned on Sandpit Road site

Plans to build 80 homes on farmland to the south of Sandpit Road have been unveiled.

The proposals are for a development of houses of mixed sizes, including a number of affordable homes and bungalows.

People will be able to see an exhibition on the development at the Bedford Hall on Thursday, July 30. It will be open from 3pm to 7.30pm.

The site is one of a number in the village that was selected by Peterborough City Council and approved by the Planning Inspector as suitable for residential development. It is at the extreme eastern end of the village and to the south of existing housing in this area.

Although access to the site via Sandpit Road was considered acceptable by the City Council and Planning Inspector, this road will only be used for emergency access. Primary access will be from Wisbech Road via a new road crossing the farmland to the east of the existing housing.

Developers say a generous strip of land will be left between the new road and the housing for use as an area of landscaped public open space.

The proposals show a layout of approximately eighty dwellings of mixed sizes and types including a number of affordable houses and bungalow units. As this is only a preliminary proposal, the details of numbers, housing type, materials, etc is still to be confirmed.

Thorney Parish Council considered the plans at a meeting last month and had no objections.

“As the site is already approved by the City Council it is likely that its development will be approved and it is important, therefore, that the parish gets the best from it,” said parish councillor, Russ Bevington.

Naked man in park – parents warned

A naked man was seen in the park at around 9.30am this morning (Monday).

He was spotted near the tennis courts by Emma Osgood who was just finishing a 5K run.

Emma has reported the incident to the police, who have promised to investigate, but she wanted to let other people know what had happened (especially parents) so they could be vigilant.

She was so shocked by the incident that she ran home. The man didn’t follow. She thinks he was in the bushes by the tennis courts and came out as she ran by.

“I was so shocked and surprised, I just ran,” she said. “He may have meant no harm, but I didn’t hang around.

“If anyone else has seen anything, please report it to the police. I didn’t want to not say anything and then for something dreadful to happen.”

Emma didn’t recognise the man and was so shocked by the incident that she wasn’t able to give a full description. She thinks he was fairly young, slim and about 5ft 8in tall. He didn’t have a beard or long hair. When she got to the park entrance, she looked back and saw a man in black jogging bottoms, but she is not sure if it was the same person.

Wind turbine components arriving at Wryde Croft

Wind turbine

Components for the 13 turbines at Wryde Croft wind-farm to the east of Thorney started arriving last week, with delivery of three 39m long turbine blades. Further components are due for delivery throughout July and August.

Construction of the wind-farm by energy company RES began in September 2014, and it is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year. Over the last few months, seven kilometres of on-site tracks have been created and all 13 of the foundations which will support the turbines are now complete.

Bob Wilson, RES Construction Site Manager at Wryde Croft Wind Farm, said: “This site has excellent transport access and we do not anticipate any significant delays for local people during the turbine delivery period. The wind farm is progressing to schedule and we should see the first turbines being erected in the coming weeks.”

Turbine deliveries will continue for approximately eight weeks. The delivery vehicles should travel along the A47, turn onto New Cut Road to the east of Thorney, then turn right to access the wind farm site via Wallace Drove. RES says it has agreed this delivery route in consultation with Peterborough City Council, the police and relevant highways authorities. All turbine deliveries must follow the agreed route to site, avoiding local villages.

Specially designed vehicles are used to deliver the various sections of the turbines – each turbine comprises three blades, two tower sections, a hub and nacelle (or gearbox). The deliveries have been scheduled to minimise disruption and will take place Monday to Friday, with an occasional delivery on Saturday if required.

Wryde Croft Wind Farm is due to start generating electricity by the end of this year. Once the wind farm is fully operational, it will provide a community benefits package of £130,000 per year (index linked) and be capable of generating sufficient renewable electricity to power around 14,000 homes.

The community benefits offered at Wryde Croft Wind Farm will comprise a Community Benefit Fund to support local charitable projects and a Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS), which offers nearest neighbours an annual discount of at least £100 per year off their electricity bills. Eligible properties will be contacted directly with details of how to claim the discount.

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