EXPANDING operations at a sand and gravel quarry has been given the go-ahead despite warnings from residents and councillors that it would have an “intolerable” impact on their lives.
A Hampshire County Council committee approved an application by TJ Transport Ltd for extra machinery to sort materials at Forest Lodge Farm off Fawley Road in Hythe.
As reported in the A&T, villagers were backed by New Forest District Council and Hythe and Dibden Parish Council in their opposition to loosening planning conditions for extracting 540,000 tonnes of material from the 5.6-hectare site.
They feared noise, dust and extra traffic and, alongside 10 objections, a petition of 59 signatures was sent urging councillors to refuse the scheme.
But TJ Transport said that digging deeper had uncovered more clay among the sand and without the “urgent” new operation, work at the site would take longer than the 10 years permitted in 2017.
The regulatory committee of HCC, which has decision-making powers over mineral applications, voted to allow it, because the extra activity would not have an “unacceptable” impact on living conditions.
However, conditions include noise monitoring and control over the type of grading machine used.
A report advised members to allow the expansion to help sustain Hampshire’s supply of sand and gravel within the operation’s permitted time.
It also said any impact on highway safety and the looks of the area would be “acceptable”. The site is scheduled to be returned to farmland at the end of 10 years’ activity.
The company said in its application the noise of the activity “would not have an adverse impact” and would deliver a better quality product.
Dibden and Hythe county councillor Malcolm Wade reacted: “I am very disappointed the Conservatives-dominated committee ignored both my objection on behalf of the residents and the support my Lib Dem colleagues, who sit on the committee, gave to that objection.
“The ongoing nuisance to residents, who live about 35 yards from the quarry, is a serious impact on their quality of life.”
District councillor James Binns, Conservative member for Butts Ash and Dibden Purlieu, had also campaigned against the change and claimed that assurances ruling out material sorting on the site had helped gain the initial permission.
He said: “The dust, noise, disturbance and wider environmental impact on the community could create an adverse public health risk and therefore contravenes policy 10 of HCC’s own Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan which refers to the protection of public health, safety and amenity.
“It is therefore disappointing that the committee have not taken their own policies into consideration.”