July 23 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, January 26, 2013
A large cheer and loud applause echoed around a council chamber this afternoon as councillors unanimously rejected a controversial plan to create a sand and gravel quarry in a Norfolk village.
Haddiscoe residents rose to their feet in celebration as the members of Norfolk County Council’s planning and regulatory committee went against their officers’ recommendation for approval.
The councillors decided that the planned quarry on Manor Farm would have an adverse impact on nearby St Mary’s Church and the local landscape, that the dust and traffic would have an impact on residents, the need was not there and it was not one of 26 sites allocated for this type of development.
Earsham Gravels Limited wanted to turn two fields of the 28.7-hectare farm into a quarry, where 1.45m tonnes of sand and gravel would be extracted during a 21-year period.
The plan caused much upset in the village, particularly due to its proximity to homes and the Anglo-Saxon round tower church, and the Haddiscoe Stopit Association was formed to stand against it.
A total of 156 individual letters of complaint were written with other objections from South Norfolk District Council and Haddiscoe Parish Council.
Tony Tomkinson, county councillor for the area, appealed to the committee to reject the application.
“Natural justice dictates you must refuse it. If you do not, this is not the county council I was elected to serve,” he said.
Earsham Gravels Limited said that the quarry would provide £34m to the economy and that it was vital to help the council meet their minimum target of sand and gravel reserves. They also had detailed plans for the restoration of the site after use.
However, councillors rejected the application unanimously.
Marcus Hemsley said they rarely see such opposition when looking at a recommendation and was sceptical about the economic benefits.
Janet Murphy said: “It is the site of a beautiful church. We are blessed with churches in this county and this is one of the finest, so we need to be stewards of this and we would be failing in our duty if we allow this to go through.”
Speaking afterwards, Rory Kelsey, chairman of Haddiscoe Stopit Association, said: “I am overwhelmed to be honest. It has been five years preparing for this and one never knows, as it is unusual for a committee to vote against planners’ recommendations.”
Wendy Alford, parish council vice-chairman, said she was “over the moon”.
Jim Bennett, managing director of Earsham Gravels Limited, said he was disappointed in the decision after the business had worked hard to ensure the officers were satisfied with the plan.
“I feel like closing down the business. It has destroyed my faith in the process of planning,” he said.