Quarry plans loom near major new housing development

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A decision on the quarry application is expected in June (Photo: stock image)

PLANS for a huge new gravel quarry close to where 875 homes are set to be built on the edge of Christchurch is slated to be decided in June.

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The application for nearly 78 hectares of farmland just west of Burton Common has gone out again for public consultation three years after it was first submitted in 2016.

Hampshire County Council, which will rule on the bid, said the delay was due to the “scale and complexity” of the proposal. Extra information had been required to answer environmental questions that emerged during the original consultation period.

The location is north of the railway line where, to the south, developer Taylor Wimpey won outline permission in 2017 for 875 homes. They are planned to stretch down to the A35 on a triangle of land between Somerford and Hinton.

The quarry site is being proposed for extraction and landfill in phases over up to 20 years by Bodorgan Properties (C.I.) Ltd. It operates from the Meyrick Estate office and has links to wealthy local landowner Sir George Meyrick.

When the plan was submitted, neighbouring Hurn Parish Council was strongly opposed warning of “gridlock” on local roads and worsening pollution. New Forest District Council raised no objection.

About 120 daily HGV trips are forecast as around 160,000 of sand and gravel is set to be dug up. About 10 jobs would be created by Bodorgan, which said the impact of operations locally would not be significant.

The scheme includes a concrete manufacturing plant, material screening and crushing facilities, as well as a workshop, offices and weighbridge, plus an access link east to the A35.

If approved, operations would be between 7am-6pm Monday-Friday and 7am-1pm on Saturdays. On Sundays it would be closed.

As parts of the site are exhausted, it will be filled with “inert materials” and returned in sections to agriculture, woodland and grassland.

In 2016 the Environment Agency and English Nature demanded extra information amid concerns about the potential for flooding, water contamination and the impact on flora and fauna.

In February this year fresh documents were submitted by Bodorgan to assess the effect on the River Mude, which passes round the edge of the site before emptying at Mudeford.

It concluded: “The results of the hydraulic modelling study confirmed that the proposals do not increase off-site flood risk and that flood risk is generally reduced.”

The site is listed as a potential quarrying location in HCC’s minerals strategy setting out where excavation can take place to meet the area’s construction needs.

The six-week public consultation will finish on 3rd May. Comments should be sent to planning@hants.gov.uk

An HCC spokesperson told the A&T: “The last of this information has now been submitted and, therefore, the application has been re-publicised to give local residents and statutory consultees an opportunity to comment on the changes.

“It is proposed to take the planning application to the county council’s regulatory committee for consideration in June.”

In 2016 the New Forest National Park Authority approved an internal road from the existing access on the A35 to serve the proposed quarry.

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