Quarry plans are flawed, says Parish Council
Thorney Parish Council has come down against plans to develop a new sand and gravel quarry at Pasture House Farm.
The proposed quarry is adjacent to the A47 and would border Willowhall Lane. This is the full text of the Parish Council response to Peterborough City Council:
PASTURE FARM HOUSE, THE CAUSEWAY, THORNEY, PETERBOROUGH, PE6 0QL EXTRACTION OF MINERALS
Planning Application Reference: 15/01839/MMFUL
THORNEY PARISH COUNCIL COMMENTS – December 2015
1. We are not opposed to this site becoming a quarry although we regret the loss of agricultural land and the important rural setting this provides on the A47 approach to the village.
2. We are, however, completely opposed to two aspects of the proposals:
a) Access to the site being from Willow Hall Lane
b) The location of the Batching and Processing Plant
3. We fail to understand why access to the site is from Willow Hall Lane rather than utilising the existing entrance at Pasture House Farm.
The Pasture House Farm access point would extend the distance between the existing Pode Hole Quarry exit/entrance to the east, and we feel this should be a consideration in respect of road safety.
Using Pasture House Farm as the access point would avoid the widening of Willow Hall Lane, which, we understand is necessary to meet the requirements for heavy goods vehicles. This widening is on the western side of the road where there exists a very beautiful copse of mature trees. Widening the road will ravage and brutalise this copse, and we believe the wilful and unnecessary felling of trees is totally unacceptable when there is an obvious alternative that would not affect the landscape or mature trees and vegetation.
We cannot imagine that the City Council Officers responsible for tree preservation and landscape will be able to give this aspect of this application their approval.
We also note that there is no indication of quarry traffic control at the Willow Hall Lane/A47 junction. Will lorries be permitted to turn both left and right at this junction or will they be restricted to making a left hand turn only as do the Pode Hole Quarry vehicles? If it is a left hand turn only for quarry vehicles how will this affect other traffic using this junction – will they still be permitted to turn left or right?
What, regardless of where the access to the site is, will be the limitations on the number of vehicles entering the village?
We assume the limitations imposed on Pode Hole will be shared with Pasture House Farm by which we mean there will be no increase in the existing number of vehicles entering the village?
We are informed that alternative access points have been discussed with Highways but they are insisting on Willow Hall Lane being utilised for this purpose. We would be grateful if we can be informed by the City Council of Highways reasons for this and their rejection of alternatives.
4. Locating the access off Willow Hall Lane seems to generate the location of the Batching and Processing Plant being placed in a position where it will be visible from the A47. The implication that a ‘screening bund’ will overcome their being visible seems unlikely to us and we would like to see visuals that give accurate views of this. We feel that such visuals should be an integral part of an application such as this.
We believe the Batching and Processing Plant will be a visual blot on the landscape and will unacceptably change a rural agricultural setting to an industrial one.
We are of the opinion that this plant should be located immediately behind the farm house and related farm buildings. In this location it will read as an integrated part of the existing collection of buildings rather than just being stuck somewhere out in a field. It will also be well hidden from the A47 and would work well with site access at this alternative location. Furthermore it would be in a location central to the whole site which could seem to be an efficient place to locate it.
We assume that the sound test information in respect of the impact this plant may have on residences in the vicinity will be a critical item in respect of assessing this application. We are concerned that noise levels may be unacceptable.
5. We believe interventions of this kind into a rural landscape should be of the most subtle, sensitive and least intrusive design and these proposals exhibit precisely the opposite of that. They are intrusive, they have little or no respect for the existing copse and they are insensitive over the siting of the batching plant. We trust that the Planning Department will request a more appropriate solution to these aspects of the proposals before giving them their full consideration.
Unless the Access Point and Plant locations are reconsidered we confirm that Thorney Parish Council are totally opposed to these proposals which they consider to be extremely ill-considered and inappropriate in respect of a rural landscape and in their disregard for the established landscape feature of the copse.
6. We request that this Planning Application be put before the Planning Committee and that a member of Thorney Parish Council is granted permission to speak at this meeting
a) These proposals do not include any visuals as to how the modifications to Willow Hall Lane or the Batching Plant and Processing Plant will look. We are left with having to judge this from plans alone and this in itself would seem to be sufficient reason for rejecting this application or for calling for more information.
b) We trust archaeological matters, wildlife and environmental issues related to this site will be critical items in reviewing this application.
c) As it is beyond the expertise of Thorney Parish Council to assess whether or not this quarry is actually needed they would be grateful for the view of City Council on this. The adjacent quarry appears to be fully operable with approval to expand so we are uncertain why a further quarry is needed at this time.
d) In discussion with the Agent for this application when he spoke to the Parish Council earlier this year it was put to him that there should be a community benefit arising from this application should it be successful. In particular we referenced the continuation of the Cycle Path from Thorney to Eye. This exists in part from the village going west but needs to continue along the frontage of the application site. We believe, in keeping with policies on safe cycle routes and community benefits that provision of this Cycle Path extension should be made a condition of any approval of this application.
e) In recent discussions (December 2015) with the Agent for this site he suggested that new trees could be planted on the western side of the Willow Hall Lane copse to compensate for the loss of trees on its eastern side. This does not form part of the existing application but we would be grateful if either the application is modified to incorporate this or that it is made a condition of any approvals given to this application.