Hearing to resume on unpopular mineral mining planBy Laura Nightingale
March 08, 2013
A BLUEPRINT setting out how Hampshire’s sand and gravel mining would be managed in the future is a step closer towards being adopted.
Since 2007, the draft Minerals and Waste Plan has attracted objections from across the county, especially those from Eversley as sites in that parish were identified in the document.
A public hearing was held last year on the original plan followed by a public consultation on the recommended changes.
Next week the independent planning inspector Andrew Freeman will resume a public hearing in Winchester on Tuesday and Wednesday.
An adequate and steady supply of sand and gravel extracted from Eversley Common Quarry and Eversley Quarry are still identified in the plan.
Bramshill Quarry extension near Yateley Heath Wood is also identified as a potential site in the plan, subject to planning permission.
The Yateley Society would like to see the Bramshill Quarry extension site removed from the list. A spokesman from the society said: “This site is not only part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, covered by the EU Birds Directive and part of Yateley Common, but it is also an archaeological heritage asset as bronze age flint workings and burial site has been discovered in this area.
“The site has recently been leased to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust for 10 years with the intention to returning the habitat to open heathland.
“This is completely contrary to creating any quarry workings.”
Any site used for gravel extraction, would not be accessible to members of the public. This means, the proposed part of Yateley Common, which is used regularly by walkers and cyclists, would be out of bounds.
Councillor Mel Kendal, deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport at the county council, said: “The Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan will play a fundamental role in protecting Hampshire’s environment and communities over the next 20 years.
“It will ensure that the local economy is supported by enabling an adequate supply of minerals and sustainably managing Hampshire’s waste.
“Comments received on the proposed changes to the draft plan were submitted to the independent planning inspector for his consideration and he has concluded that the public hearing should resume, and identified the areas he wishes to be covered.”
Next week’s hearing is in public and anyone can attend and observe the proceedings, but only those invited by the planning inspector may participate.
If the inspector decides that he has collected all the necessary evidence, he will close the hearing and finalise his report, which will confirm whether he considers the plan to be a sound document and suitable for the Hampshire authorities to adopt as planning policy.
If this is the case it will replace the current policy, the Hampshire Minerals and Waste Core Strategy, and all future planning applications for minerals and waste development will be assessed and determined on the basis of the policies in the Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan.
This includes measures to manage and mitigate the impact of development on local communities and the surrounding environment.
Hampshire’s draft plan has been jointly prepared by the five minerals and waste planning authorities in the county, as part of their statutory responsibility for minerals and waste planning.