Cemex earmarks Midgham Farm for quarry as Hampshire County Council reviews minerals plan
A PLAN to turn Forest farmland into a quarry will likely see a community backlash, a councillor has warned.
Mexico-based building materials firm Cemex has proposed the development for Midgham Farm, near Fordingbridge, as Hampshire County Council reviews its minerals and waste plan.
A company spokesperson said the firm is likely to submit a planning application to the authority in the “late winter/early spring”.
He added that Cemex is currently drafting responses to concerns raised during public consultations about the quarry plan – the responses will eventually be published at midghamfarm.consultationonline.co.uk
The firm said a new quarry would help provide the building materials needed for new homes in Hampshire and Dorset until 2040 and allow for the creation of “ecological corridors” for wildlife.
The county council delayed its minerals and waste plan in June to consider submissions from Natural England about the impact of nutrient extraction on the environment.
A revised minerals plan is expected to be submitted to the secretary of state in July.
Cllr David Millar, NFDC member for Fordingbridge, Godshill and Hyde, said: “Previous proposals for a quarry at Midgham Farm received more than 2,200 responses, and none were positive.
“There were concerns around the impact on green corridors by turning the land into a quarry, the impact on species and waterways, as well as concerns about increasing industrialisation and its effect on the local road network.
“There’s been a large amount of housebuilding in Fordingbridge over the last 10 to 15 years, and that’s meant a massive increase in heavy vehicles using roads that were designed for horses and carts. A quarry in the area would only add to that.”
Cemex’s Midgham Farm quarry proposal is set to be raised at an HCC cabinet meeting on 12th December.
A company spokesperson told the A&T: “Cemex’s proposals for Midgham Farm coincides with Hampshire County Council’s review of their minerals and waste plan.
“As part of that review, the council invited expressions of interest for new sites to ensure that essential building materials continue to be available for building new homes and a range of vital infrastructure projects across Hampshire and Dorset up to 2040.
“Cemex is proposing Midgham Farm to help meet those needs, and the site is seen as a natural replacement to follow on from our current operation at nearby Hamer Warren.
“If approved, the work at Midgham would only start once Hamer Warren finishes and will maintain and enhance local employment opportunities.”
Cemex estimates a quarry at Midgham Farm would supply up to 250,000 tonnes of sand and gravel each year for around 15 years. The company also said the site would be returned to agricultural use following extraction, creating new native woodland, hedges, and ponds.
The spokesperson continued: “The quarry would be progressively restored, which would see a variety of new habitats created as well as establishing important ecological corridors – this is in addition to returning much of the land back to agricultural use.
“From the outset, the rights of way network would be improved, through the creation of a new path running along the western boundary to link Alderholt with Ringwood Forest (Drove End).
“There are currently three footpaths crossing the site – none would be closed as a result of the proposal.”