Quarry expansion could see site just metres from village homes
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A villager facing the possible expansion of a nearby quarry to just metres from his house has criticised a council for not consulting residents on the plan.
Stanninghall Quarry, in Horstead, could expand by more than 130 acres in the next five years - with the new extraction zone boundary just 13m from villagers' homes and upto 122 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) going to the site each day.
Plans to grow the site, owned by Tarmac Aggregates, are outlined in the Norfolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan, which was put out to consultation until October 30.
The 53 hectare site could see work start in 2024, with 350,000 tonnes of sand and gravel extracted every year for 13 years.
But after being shocked at the proximity of the expansion to his neighbours' properties, a resident asked why the council had not consult more widely on the plans.
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Paul Stobart said while he did receive a letter from the council, he felt they had tried to limit the process "to the letter of the law".
Mr Stobart, who lives within 250m of the development, said: "It's a major development running for a number of years and it would be on your doorstep 24/7
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"It's literally almost at the end of the neighbours' garden.
"I just can't believe how close they've come to people's houses."
And the 45-year-old, said he was worried about the physical and environmental impact of the dust and pollution from the quarry, as well as the increase in HGVs.
"They've only spoken to people within 250m but there could be lots of people affected," he added.
"They should have made everyone in the village aware.
"I can walk three houses from mine and they didn't get a letter.
"Who says that extra 30m means you're less likely to be affected?"
A county council spokesperson said: "To raise awareness and encourage responses to the consultation we put notices at each of the proposed sites, sent out a press release, posted information on social media, and contacted all parish councils to make sure possible wider local issues of the proposals could be raised.
"Letters were also sent to all properties up to 250m away from any of the proposed sites. There is no specific distance required in this case, however 250m is over and above what is required as part of a planning application.
"This consultation was one step in the detailed process of updating Norfolk's Minerals and Waste Local Plan. This plan is a national requirement. Once this process is complete in about two years' time, there will be a number of sites across the county that are deemed suitable for mineral extraction. However, before any quarrying takes place a planning application would then have to be made, and approved, for each site. The planning application process also includes public consultation.
"We received more than 3,800 responses relating to sites across the county, and will be carefully collating those over the coming months and a report will go to councillors in 2020. There will be further opportunities for people to comment on that report before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the independent examination of Norfolk's Minerals and Waste Local Plan in 2021."
And Campbell Jones, chairman of Horstead parish council, said: "It appears the county council missed sending letters to a lot of people or they weren't delivered.
"My clerk didn't get a letter and the quarry would be almost behind her property."