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South Norfolk
  MP gives County Council his views on proposed quarry at Marlingford

IMAGE: The Norfolk County Council Mineral and Waste Development Framework proposes a 50 acre gravel extraction quarry near Marlingford


South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has written to Mr Nick Johnson, Planning Services Manager at Norfolk County Council, with his views on  the Council's proposals for a 50-acre gravel extraction quarry near Marlingford.

Mr Bacon was responding to the Council's call for public responses on its plans for Mineral extraction and Waste disposal in Norfolk.

The Norfolk County Council Mineral
and Waste Development Framework
proposes a 50 acre gravel extraction
quarry near Marlingford

Mr Bacon said: “I have written to Mr Johnson with my thoughts on the County Council's proposals for a gravel quarry at Marlingford.

“If local people miss the 11 December deadline and these proposals are still taken forward, then residents will have a further opportunity to put their views to any public inquiry that is established to look at these proposals in greater detail”.

10 December2009

Below is the text of Mr Bacon's letter to Mr Nick Johnson, Planning Services Manager at Norfolk County Council:

Mr Nick Johnson
Planning Services Manager
Department of Planning and Transportation
Norfolk County Council
County Hall
Martineau Lane
Norwich   NR1 2DH

10 December 2009

Dear Mr Johnson

I am writing in regard to the public consultation on Norfolk County Council’s Mineral and Waste Development Framework (NMWDF) and in particular the proposal for a sand and gravel extraction plant on land to the North of Bawburgh Road, Marlingford in my constituency, reference MIN 54, and also a landfill for inert waste on the same site, reference WAS 71.

South Norfolk Local Plan policies: The proposed quarry would inevitably affect an area which the South Norfolk Local Plan (SNLP), under policy ENV13, identifies as being of regional and local nature conservation interest and geological/geomorphological value.  Policy ENV13 states that any development which is likely to adversely affect any local nature reserve, site of importance for nature conservation or a regionally important geological or geomorphological site will not be permitted unless there are material planning considerations of sufficient importance to outweigh the need to safeguard the nature conservation interest of the site, or its geological or geomorphological value.  I believe that proposals MIN 54 and WAS 71 will be in clear violation of policy ENV13 as, given the large number of sites under consideration across Norfolk, no material planning considerations of sufficient importance exist in this case. 

Highways: A principal concern of local residents is that a quarry would require a very large number of heavy goods vehicles to use local roads to and from the quarry site. This would present considerable danger to pedestrians, including those walking their dogs, and other road users. In the Winter months, HGVs would deposit large quantities of mud on the roads. It is clear that the narrow rural roads around the proposed site are unsuitable for the very high volume of traffic which would be required.

Conservation and Heritage: The Old Hall, a Grade II listed building, sits within very close proximity of the proposed site.  I have visited the Old Hall and I am concerned that vibration from the proposed works could damage this historic residence.  These concerns are shared by English Heritage, which believes that this property could be detrimentally affected by these proposals.

Noise pollution: I visited the site recently and was struck by beauty of the area and the historic nature of nearby residences.  The site sits towards the top of the Yare Valley and local residents are concerned that the quarry will cause considerable noise pollution in what is a particularly tranquil area of the county.  Given the tranquil state of the area, the NMWDF’s proposals to site the noisiest works away from the Southern end of the site seem unlikely to have much effect. 

Destruction of Woodland and associated ground slippage:  One of the woodlands nearby, Bluebell Wood, which is in the grounds of the Old Hall, would be at risk of destruction through dehydration, due to the effect on the immediately adjacent water table if the quarry went ahead, with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of material being removed. There would also be an associated risk of ground slippage very near to a row of dwellings in the village.

Flooding: There are strong local concerns that pollutants from the quarry and the landfill site would find their way into underground water courses and into the River Yare.  Local people are also concerned that the excavation would allow water to be introduced to the flood plain much more quickly than at present, increasing the flood risk in the Yare Valley. 

Local knowledge: It is easy to dismiss local concerns as nimbyism, but granting planning permission for infrastructure projects or housing without due regard to superior local knowledge is dangerous.  The situation at Barford is a case in point.  In that case, local people warned that new houses built in Eastleigh Gardens, Barford would be in danger of being flooded, yet local planning authorities dismissed their concerns.  Consequently, the subsequent owners of those houses now find themselves inundated by raw sewage during heavy rainfall.  I am keen to see that this grave error of judgement is not repeated elsewhere in Norfolk. 

I would be very grateful if you could take the above points into consideration when taking forward the Norfolk Mineral and Waste Development Framework.

Yours sincerely

Richard Bacon MP
Member of Parliament for South Norfolk


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