Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 27/11/2006
Draft Surrey Minerals Plan
(REVISED) APPENDIX N
Waverley Borough Council
EXECUTIVE – 13TH jUNE 2006
DRAFT SURREY MINERALS PLAN
[Wards Affected: Farnham Weybourne and Badshot Lea
Summary and purpose:
The purpose of the report is to set out the proposals in the Draft Surrey Minerals Plan 2006 with special reference to how they affect Waverley.
The environmental considerations are very significant, because of the scale of the proposed extractions, and the likely impacts on the landscape.
Social / community implications:
The social impact of the proposals will be the detrimental effect on the lives of people living near the sites.
There are no e-Government implications arising from this report.
Resource and legal implications:
There are no resource or legal implications, apart from the need for Section 106 agreements for the development of the sites.
1. The existing Surrey Minerals Plan was adopted in 1993 by Surrey County Council. It had a ten year life span. In 2003, the process of reviewing the Plan was begun and an Issues and Options paper was published, using the new Local Development Framework approach to Plans. Waverley Borough Council was consulted and gave comments (explained below). The County Council took account of the comments received from the consultees and has now produced the Draft Preferred Options Plan. The consultation period is 28th April to 9th June 2006. A Waverley Forum was held for Members on 15th May 2006 and their comments are incorporated in this report.
The format of the Plan
2. Part A of the Plan deals with the Preferred Option, and Part B is the Minerals Core Strategy; the overall picture. Part C covers Development Control Policies, and Part D deals with the primary aggregates and the extraction sites. Part E covers the restoration of the sites.
The County Council Consultation Questions
3. The objectives of the Plan have been summarised in the consultation form and consultees are invited to comment. An officer response is given to each one.
a. Reducing demand for minerals by increasing recycling, using minerals efficiently and encouraging the use of other materials.
The Borough Council has a firm policy on recycling and supports this approach.
b. Safeguarding the supply of minerals by conserving minerals in the ground for the future, keeping scarce and high quality minerals for specialist uses, and finding enough land to meet future demand.
There may be some locations where minerals do not need to be safeguarded because they could not be worked because of the damage to the landscape and severe effect on nearby dwellings.
c. Minimising adverse impacts on communities and the environment from mineral development by working with local communities so that minerals are dug from land that has the least effect on people and the environment , and making sure that minerals companies work hard to keep impacts to a minimum.
This objective is supported. However one of the comments made by the Borough Council on the 2003 Issue and Options Paper was that there should be standard buffer zones between housing and extraction sites. The County Council calls these zones “standoffs”, but proposed to deal with them on a case by case basis rather than producing a standard. A standard buffer zone could be applied between houses and the edge of the pit. The benefit of a standard would be to afford residents some degree of certainty and consistency.
d. Minimising adverse impacts from the transportation of minerals by making sure that lorries use the most suitable roads, that minerals are transported safely, and encouraging non-road based transportation.
This objective is supported. The Borough Council in its response on the Issues and Options Paper 2003, stressed the need to safeguard rail depots. There is no mention of depots in the Plan.
e. Restoring mineral working to the highest standards by ensuring that restoration is thought about early on, and by restoring sites in ways that enhance the local landscape and have a worthwhile future use.
This objective is supported, provided the quality of the landscape, protected by the Area of Great Landscape Value designation, and also the openness of the Countryside Beyond the Green Belt is safeguarded.
The sites – the need for primary aggregates in Surrey
4. Having looked at the overall objectives, the next consideration is the need for primary aggregates. The justification of the County Council for extraction is based on the following equation:-
The South East’s minerals policy is set out in Regional Planning Guidance Note 9 (RPG9). It sets out the “apportionment” (allocation ) for Surrey.
The proposed apportionment for primary aggregates in Surrey is 2.62 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).
This makes a total of 34mt during the plan period 2004-2016.
At the end of 2003 the total permitted aggregate reserve was 13.96mt.
This is broken down as 6.3mt of concreting aggregate and 7.7mt of soft sand.
This means that an additional 20.10mt of aggregate are needed.
Surrey apportionment for 2004-2016 = 34.06mt
Less permitted reserves in 2003 = 13.96mt
Additional primary aggregate required = 20.10mt
5. The County Council justifies its identification of sites for extraction on the basis of this requirement.
The Sites in Waverley
6. The next consideration is the sites. There are two sites in Waverley that are proposed for extraction and a site in Guildford Borough close to the Waverley boundary:
A new site at Monkton Lane, Farnham.
Extension to Runfold South, Farnham.
A further site at Eashing Farm, Eashing in Guildford Borough.
Monkton Lane, Farnham
The site is situated to the north of Monkton Lane and the east of Weybourne Road, to the west of Badshot Lea. It is a large site comprising 18 hectares and would yield nearly 1 million tonnes of sand. Importantly it would be a new site. In its comments in 2003, the Borough Council opposed the opening of new sites and considered that only extensions to existing sites would be acceptable.
The Monkton Lane site would be situated in the Farnham/ Aldershot Strategic Farnham/ Aldershot Strategic Gap (See
). The site would be on the western side of the Gap, close to the built up area of Farnham. This would be a sensitive location visible from Heath End. The South East Plan has a policy on Strategic Gaps and this has considerable weight now that the document has been submitted to the Secretary of State.
The site would also be in the Countryside beyond the Green Belt. Although the Waverley Borough Local Plan states that minerals extraction may be acceptable in the Countryside beyond the Green Belt, it also says that development “should not adversely affect the landscape”. The Farnham/ Aldershot Strategic Gap is intended to prevent coalescence of the urban areas, and this is achieved by protecting the open areas of landscape.
Another important factor is that the site would be near to housing. The Minerals Plan Policy MC7 on protecting communities and the environment states that ”The Minerals Plan will include policies and identify land that will minimise the adverse impacts of minerals development on communities and the environment”. It would seem contrary to this Policy to develop a site so close to housing to their detriment.
The site would also be adjacent to a recreation ground where is it likely that children play. The site would have an adverse effect on a community facility. The Weybourne Local Nature Reserve would lie adjacent to the site on the west side. It was designated for water voles amongst other species and the disturbance from the site would be considerable. The reserve was established and funded by the Borough Council. For these reasons, an objection to this site could be justified.
Extension to Runfold South Farnham
This is a smaller site, 3 hectares in area. It would yield about half a million tonnes. It is an extension to the existing Runfold South sandpit to the north, it would not be a new site. It is located to the south of the ole A31, Guildford Road. It is in the Area of Great Landscape Value and in the Countryside Beyond the Green Belt and it would extend southwards right down to the North Downs Way. The company has been planting screening on the south boundary for a number of years, so the site would not necessarily be intrusive in the landscape.
The main problem would be the impact on nearby housing. This has already been recognised by the County Council which has refused consent for extraction on this site three times because the need for minerals did not outweigh the adverse impacts on residential amenity. Inclusion of the site would therefore appear to be entirely contrary to the decisions already made regarding applications for extraction. For this reason an objection could be justified.
Eashing Farm, Eashing
This site is not in Waverley Borough, it is in Guildford in the Parish of Shackleford. It is located to the south of Hurtmore, adjacent to the east side of the A3. It is a large site of 28 hectares, and would yield 1.3 million tonnes of soft sand and 0.85 million tonnes of Bargate stone. It is not likely that it will be visible to Waverley residents, and the County Council is of the view that extraction work wont be heard over the ambient noise of the A3 and the topography of the site, which is in a valley. The County Council was advised that distribution would be limited to the A3, so there would not be any HGVs on Waverley roads. However, the Plan Document does not specifically say this and, therefore, an objection would be made if traffic is not managed so that it is directed onto the A3 away from local Waverley roads.
The views of the Minerals Forum
7. A forum was held for Members on 15th May 2006, and they had a number of views on the Minerals Plan.
8. Regarding the issues raised by the Borough Council at the Issues and Options stage in 2003, the Forum was concerned that:
the principle of only extending sites and not creating new ones had not been adopted by the Minerals Plan;
the concept of standard buffer zones had not been adopted;
that the safeguarding of rail depots had not been included.
9. The Forum was of the view the Monkton Lane site and the Runfold South site should not be included in the Plan and agreed with the points made in the appraisal above.
10. There was concern about the Eashing site, though the reassurances given by the County Council about noise, visual effect and transport were accepted by most present.
11. The overall objectives of the Plan are to be supported, and the figures for the apportionment are accepted. However, a number of the comments by the Borough Council made on the Issues and Options Paper 2003 have not been taken into account, and the Borough wishes to see this rectified.
It is recommended that the County Council be advised that the Borough Council objects to the Minerals Plan for the reasons set out in the report, namely:-
1. no standard standoff boundaries have been included;
2. there is no safeguarding for rail depots;
3. there are objections to Monkton Lane, Farnham and Runfold South, Farnham being included as sites; and
4. the Council would object to the Eashing Site if the traffic is not managed so that it is directed onto the A3 away from local Waverley roads.
There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.