HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL

Decision Report :

Decision Maker:

Regulatory Committee

Date of Decision:

14 January 2009

Decision Title:

Applicant: Tarmac Limited

Proposed extraction of sand and gravel at Plumley Wood and associated development proposals at Burnt Hill Quarry and Blashford Quarry, Nr Ringwood
(Application No. 08/91952)
(County Council Ref: NF255)

Decision Reference:

483

Report From:

Head of Planning and Development, Environment Department

Contact name:

Julia Davey

Tel:

01962 846732

Email:

Julia.davey@hants.gov.uk

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1) Background:

    1.1. This report considers an application to extract approximatety six million tonnes of sand and gravel from land on Somerley Estate, known as Plumley Wood and Farm, near Ringwood as shown on the attached plans. The application includes the following proposals:

    (i) transportation of the mineral extracted at Plumley Farm via a new conveyor to a mineral washing plant at Burnt Hill;

    (ii) after washing, to further transport the mineral east by a new conveyor bridge across a public highway known as Harbridge Drove to the existing Nea Farm Quarry also within Somerly Estate;

    (iii) linking the new proposed conveyor with an existing mineral conveyor at Nea Farm; and

    (iv) transportation of mineral from Nea Farm by the existing conveyor route across the Somerley Estate and Avon Valley (Natura 2000 sites - Ramsar, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and River Avon Special Area of Conservation (SAC)) until it completes its journey at the existing Blashford Plant site near Ringwood where the mineral would be processed, and sold.

    1.2. The proposal includes a northerly four hectare extension to the existing six hectare Blashford plant site, which has existed for over three decades, and modernisation and re-design of the existing minerals bagging plant, minerals processing plant, concrete plant and inert recycling facility. It would include an educational area for visiting schools and college students above new offices and mess facilities.

    1.3. The main mineral extraction at Plumley Wood and Farm (Preferred Area 6 in the Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton Minerals and Waste Local Plan (1998)) is scheduled to commence, once mineral extraction ceased at the nearby Nea Farm Quarry, in 2014, and would continue until around 2025. Preparatory/enabling works, including construction of mineral washing plant at Burnt Hill, the new conveyor, extraction of sand to create the silt ponds at Plumley Wood and physical extension and modernisation to the Blashford Plant Site, would precede the commencement of main extraction at Plumley Wood.

    1.4. The proposal is an EIA Development under the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 1999 and an Environmental Statement has been submitted with the application.

    1.5. The County Council as Competent Authority has undertaken a full Appropriate Assessment of the proposal under conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994 (Habitat Regulations) which has concluded that the proposal would not cause any significant adverse impacts to the Natura 2000 sites (Avon Valley SPA, SAC and Ramsar sites, and Dorset Heaths SPA, SAC and Ramsar).

    1.6. On submission of the application a public exhibition took place organised by the applicant. A liaison group was also set up by the County Council and has met three times. The liaison group is chaired by the local Member, Councillor Kathy Heron, and comprises local residents, officers of the County Council, statutory and non-statutory consultees and the applicant.

    1.7. The local Member is objecting to the application on the grounds of the use of Burnt Hill for a mineral washing plant and its potential impacts on the amenities of local residents.

    1.8. Eighteen members of the local community and one MP have made representations of objection to the application. One local resident living adjacent to the site has made a representation of support for the application.

    1.9. Regulatory Committee Members undertook a half-day visit to the site in July 2008 accompanied by local, district and parish councillors and local residents.

 

2) Issues:

        Compliance with the Development Plan

    2.1. The principle of this site being worked for sand and gravel was secured through the 1998 Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton Minerals and Waste Local Plan (HPSMWLP) where it was Preferred Area No. 6. The site has been carried forward as a saved policy by Direction from the Secretary of State and in the Draft Minerals Plan (July 2008). The HPSMWLP considered a washing or a full processing plant at Burnt Hill was acceptable subject to satisfying other criteria within the Plan. This application proposes a washing plant at Burnt Hill. Following the Local Plan the Ringwood Forest Development Brief was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance in 2000.

    2.2. The County Council took a precautionary measure and advertised the application as a departure under the provisions of Article 8 (2) when it was first submitted because although Preferred Area No 6 includes a possible washing plant at Burnt Hill the Ringwood Development Brief advises against this. However having undertaken a thorough a review of the policy context it is concluded that there was no requirement to advertise the planning application as a departure because the inclusion of Burnt Hill is not contrary to the requirements of Preferred Area 6. It is now considered that the development is in accordance with the development plan and complies with the main purpose of the Ringwood Forest Development Brief in securing environmental benefits, including enhancing local biodiversity.

    Need for Mineral

    2.3. According to the Hampshire Annual Mineral Monitoring Report (AMR) 2007/08, the overall Hampshire landbank at 1 January 2008 was 3.5 years at the current apportionment level. The landbank for the Forest Area into which Plumley Wood falls is 4.5 years. Both figures are well below the 7 year level as set out in Government policy (MPS1). There is therefore an established need for the mineral.

    Impacts on Nature Conservation

    2.4. The Plumley Wood and Burnt hill areas are within the Ringwood Forest Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC). The proposed conveyor crosses the River Avon which is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) and RAMSAR which are international nature conservation designations. The proposals are unlikely to cause an adverse impact for the River Avon. The proposals include a significant contribution to nature conservation in line with the Development Plan and as required by the Ringwood Forest Development Brief. It includes a total of over 40 hectares that will become available for nature conservation throughout the life of the development. This includes six additional hectares to be managed for heathland nature conservation and the phased management of Burnt Hill for nature conservation. All nature conservation areas would be managed in the long-term, which could be secured through a legal agreement. The six hectare nature conservation `compensation' area and the north-east corner of Burnt Hill would be managed for nature conservation from commencement of the enabling works. Natural England has raised no objections to the proposal subject to conditions and securing long-term management of the allocated nature conservation areas as proposed by the applicant. It welcomes the addition of the six hectare heathland `compensation' area. Whilst there would be an impact during the operational life of the quarry, and the washing plant at Burnt Hill, the proposals include significant areas to be managed for the benefit of nature conservation.

    Impacts on Local Amenities from Noise, Dust, Light, Construction Traffic

    2.5. The Environmental Statement included assessment of the amenity impact. Revisions have been made to the proposals which include extended buffer zones between mineral working and residential properties; extended buffer zones between the Blashford plant site and nearby residential properties; securing restoration of land north of Nea Cottage East at Burnt Hill within two to three years; and the washing plant being placed at Burnt Hill within a building. The use of the conveyor to transport mineral has contributed significantly to reducing impacts that could have been created by mineral lorries on the public highway. Extraction using conveyors means the site can be operated with less than a handful of staff, reducing staff traffic near residential properties. Having thoroughly assessed all the revisions to the scheme it is considered that, subject to conditions controlling such matters as dust monitoring, noise and lighting, there would not be an unacceptable impact for local amenity.

    Impacts on Highways

    2.6. Apart from the construction period when plant will be transported to Plumley, Burnt Hill, Nea Farm and Blashford, there would be no significant traffic impacts created by the development at Plumley Wood and Burnt Hill because the mineral is transported to Blashford by conveyor. There would be increased numbers and duration of lorry traffic associated with the Blashford site. The Highways Authority has raised no objection to the proposal subject to conditions and a financial contribution towards the local highway network to be secured through a legal agreement.

    Impacts on Agriculture

    2.7. The land provides a good quality arable crop and for it to continue as a viable farm the quality of the restoration has to be of a sufficiently high standard to ensure that the same cropping the farm is able to support currently is supported following final restoration. Natural England raised a number of matters in relation to agricultural restoration and site management during restoration that need to be taken into consideration by way of planning conditions. The applicant has submitted additional information relating to these comments. Taking into account these revisions the restoration would be to the requisite agricultural standard.

    Impacts on Landscape

    2.8. Key revisions to the scheme have involved moving and regrading the screening bund separating Ellingham Drove from the Blashford extension area, with associated amendments to planting and regrading of the bank edges of the low level Plumley restoration and associated planting. It is considered that the mixed woodland between the Burnt Hill site and Nea Cottages East and West, and to the west of Burnt Hill (east of the public footpath) enclosing the site, should be permanently retained and managed as woodland. The Estate which own this woodland says that this would not be felled, however to ensure that the character of the area remains the same to nearby residents when viewed from the south this can be secured through a legal agreement.

    Impacts on Hydrology and Hydrogeology

    2.9. The Environment Agency and Natural England have raised no objections to the proposal, as revised, on hydrological or hydrogeological grounds. Licences will be required prior to development commencing relating to water abstraction and discharge and these are dealt with outside of this application as they would be issued by the Environment Agency.

    Impacts on Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

    2.10. The Environmental Assessment considered archaeology and cultural heritage, concluding no adverse impact, subject to appropriate monitoring and recording. This can be dealt with by way of condition, as is normal practice.

    Alternative Sites for Washing Plant

    2.11. The applicant submitted an addendum to the Environmental Statement, at the request of the County Council, regarding the alternative sites that were dismissed at Plumley and Nea Farm for the location of the minerals washing plant and the justification for the selection of Burnt Hill over other sites. Being in the right `en-route' location and being at a lower level, the applicant concluded that, subject to appropriate mitigation and sensitive design, the washing plant could be located at Burnt Hill without having a significant impact on local amenities or nature conservation. Having analysed the reasoning why the other sites at Plumley would not be operationally suitable and that the Trustees of Somerley Estate would not give permission for the washing plant to be located at Nea Farm, it is considered that Burnt Hill is the best available and practicable environmental option within the application site that can be managed to avoid significant impacts on nature conservation.

    Access Rights

    2.12. Objectors in the Harbridge Court complex state that the applicants do not have the right to access the Burnt Hill and Plumley Wood Quarries for the purpose of operating the proposed mineral quarry. The applicant has submitted a letter from Somerley Estates Solicitors, Wilson's, clarifying that it does have rights to access having taken Counsel's opinion. The County Council has no evidence that the applicant is not able to access the site as proposed in the application.

    Public Footpaths

    2.13. A number of public footpaths which are tracks used by the Forestry Commission, Estate, tenant farmer and occupiers of residential properties are to be used as construction and staff access to Burnt Hill and Plumley. Existing Footpath No. 23 that runs north-south through the Plumley extraction area would be temporarily diverted part way through the phased extraction onto a parallel existing trackway to the west. The proposal includes a new right of way to be designated through a legal agreement linking Footpath No. 23 with land to the west outside of the application boundary. New rights of way have recently been implemented at Blashford secured through a past mineral planning permission.

    Sustainability and Climate Change

    2.14. This proposal is utilising the existing conveyor from Nea Farm to Blashford plant site by constructing a conveyor extension from Nea Farm to Plumley with a conveyor bridge over Harbridge Drove. Such a proposal is supported by the Ringwood Forest Development Brief, by the Core Strategy and by corporate policy because it is a solution that is sustainable and reduces carbon emissions.

    Conclusion

    2.15. It is considered that the proposal is in accordance with the Development Plan and that there is an established mineral need. The revised development proposal would not adversely affect the River Avon Special Area of Conservation/Special Protection Area/RAMSAR site and provides additional nature conservation value, by way of the addition of a six hectare area available from the commencement of enabling works for heathland nature conservation, as well as the restoration of part of the mineral site to wet and dry heath and in the short, medium and long term, the management of Burnt Hill for nature conservation by way of heathland provision. A new footpath would be created in an easterly direction across the extraction site, the majority of which would utilise the alignment of an existing drove trackway. The existing arable land would be restored progressively back to high quality agricultural land and the conveyor is a sustainable and environmentally sensitive solution to transporting mineral from the Plumley Quarry to Blashford, as indeed is the utilisation of an existing minerals processing plant at Blashford. Amenity and other potential impacts have been satisfactorily addressed through revised schemes and with the additional control of conditions and section 106 agreements that could be attached to any permission that may be granted. It is noted no statutory consultee has objected to the proposal.

    2.16. It is concluded that the proposal is in accordance with policy and that any adverse impacts the development may cause are addressed and outweighed by the need for the mineral and the nature conservation and access benefits of the scheme.

3) Recommendation:

    3.1. That, subject to a Section 106 Agreement securing:

    (i) an additional six hectares of land for long-term nature conservation management;

    (ii) a new public right of way running east- west across the Plumley site;

    (iii) a financial contribution to highway works and maintenance;

    (iv) new hydrological monitoring;

    (v) retention of woodland to south of Burnt Hill and north of Nea Cottages east and West, and to the west of Burnt Hill (east of the public footpath) enclosing the site, is permanently retained and managed as woodland; and

    (vi) carrying forward existing section 106 obligations relating to lorry routing, traffic signal crossing, footpaths, hydrological monitoring and nature conservation management at Blashford and Ellingham;

    planning permission in respect of new development comprising the proposed extraction of sand and gravel and deep sand (incorporating the diversion of public footpaths) with restoration to agriculture, commercial forestry, deciduous woodland and heathland and associated development including:

    (i) the construction of a mineral washing plant at Burnt Hill together with the storage of Plumley Wood mineral at Burnt Hill with restoration of the site to heathland;

    (ii) extension of existing field conveyor system from Nea Farm Quarry to Plumley Wood (via Burnt Hill) including bridge sections over Harbridge Drove and public footpath at Plumley Wood;

    (iii) the phased redevelopment of Blashford Plant site including the extension of the plant site and recycling operations into Lodge Field; and

    (iv) variation of conditions of Planning Permission No. 06/88238 including key variations to conditions 2 (extension of time), 6 (hours of working), 24 (stockpile heights), 27 (screen bunding at Blashford) and 48 (storage capacity of recycled aggregates/arisings) at land at Plumley Wood and Farm, Burnt Hill, Nea Farm, Blue Haze and Blashford Quarries, near Ringwood (08/91952)

    be granted, subject to conditions which the Head of Planning and Development be authorised to finalise, attached in Appendix 5 (to follow).

 

4) Reason for Decision:

    4.1. It is considered that the proposal is in accordance with the Development Plan (summary attached as Appendix 1) and there is an evident need for the mineral to meet `landbank' requirements. The proposals would not adversely affect the River Avon SAC/SPA/RAMSAR and would provide additional nature conservation value, by way of the addition of a six hectare area for heathland nature conservation, as well as the restoration of part of the mineral site to wet and dry heath and the management of Burnt Hill for nature conservation. The proposals include a new footpath created in an westerly direction across the extraction site and the existing arable land would be restored progressively back to high quality agricultural land. The conveyor is a sustainable and environmentally sensitive solution to transporting mineral from the Plumley Quarry to Blashford as is the utilisation of an existing minerals processing plant at Blashford. Amenity and other potential impacts have been satisfactorily addressed.

MAIN REPORT

1) Planning History and Background:

    1.1. The site comprises four key parts: Plumley Wood, Burnt Hill, Nea Farm and Blashford, as shown on the attached plans. Plan No. 1 shows Plumley Farm, the proposed mineral extraction area and Burnt Hill, the site of the proposed washing plant; Plan No. 2 shows the location of the existing Nea Farm Quarry and the proposed mineral conveyor extension; and Plan No. 3 shows the existing Blashford Plant site (proposed extension of plant site northwards). There is a further overview plan of the three sites.

Plumley Wood

    1.2. Plumley Wood, as shown on Plan No.1, was allocated as Preferred Area No. 6 in the Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton Minerals and Waste Local Plan (adopted in 1998) (HPSMWLP). It has been carried forward as a saved policy in the current Hampshire Minerals and Waste Core Strategy (adopted July 2007). It forms part of Somerley Estate and is partly managed by the Forestry Commission and partly used for arable agriculture by a farmer tenanted to the Forestry Commission.

Burnt Hill

    1.3. Burnt Hill was worked for gravel in the 1940s. The north-eastern part of the site (a mature undisturbed valley mire wooded area) and the remaining part of Burnt Hill (which still has some overburden stockpiles on it) have been managed for nature conservation under a section 106 agreement (now revoked as part of the Nea Farm deep sand permission) the management plan for which expired on 31 December 2008.

    1.4. Planning permission was granted for a full minerals processing plant on the site in 1995 which was never implemented. This would have processed the mineral from the nearby Nea Farm Quarry whereby mineral, after being washed and processed, would have left Burnt Hill by lorries routed south down Harbridge Drove, accessing the site from Harbridge Drove by Nea Cottages near Harbridge Court residential complex.

Nea Farm

    1.5. In 1995 planning permission was granted for mineral extraction, with restoration to agriculture, at Nea Farm (located on attached Plan No. 2), with the erection of a full minerals processing plant at Burnt Hill, with a new access and associated activities (051485M). There was a legal agreement attached to the permission that part of Burnt Hill would be managed for nature conservation. This permission was never implemented with the processing plant at Burnt Hill because a further permission was granted at Nea Farm to work the site using a conveyor to transport mineral from the quarry to Blashford plant site near Ringwood for processing (00056888M). This permission was implemented and included a legal agreement securing a ten year nature conservation management plan (expiring 31 December 2008) for Burnt Hill Quarry.

    1.6. In 2007 permission was granted at Nea Farm for deep sand extraction, with sand plant, in tandem with the existing gravel extraction (including proposed southerly mineral extension) with restoration to a parkland landscape (06/88238). This permission involved the consolidation of several planning permissions and revocation of some legal agreements, including the nature conservation agreement at Burnt Hill, the management plan of which expired on 31 December 2008.

    1.7. The County Council has completed a full Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Regulations that has concluded the development would cause no significant adverse impact to the integrity of the nearby Natura 2000 sites (River Avon SAC, Ramsar and SPA and Dorset Heaths SPA, SAC and Ramsar).

2) Site Description:

    Plumley Wood

    2.1. Plumley Wood, as shown on Plan No. 1, is located within the Ringwood Forest Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) which is important for its heathland and relic heathland habitat and its birds and reptiles. Cranbourne Common Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is located approximately 300 metres to the north-west of the site within Dorset. The proposed mineral boundary, which reflects that of the Plumley Farm Preferred Area in the 1998 HPSMWLP, extends across a total of 143 hectares of which 104 hectares would be worked for mineral under this proposal. The eastern part of the Plumley site comprises 60 hectares of predominantly flat arable land tenanted by the occupants of Plumley Farm located in the south-east corner of the Plumley site. The east of the site is bordered by predominantly deciduous woodland that falls away down to the watercourse known as Hamer Brook. This woodland does not form part of the working area. Commercial woodland occupies the northern part of the site beyond the arable land, the majority of which would be felled as part of the proposal and worked for mineral. Likewise the commercial woodland to the west of the arable land would be felled and worked for mineral (apart from that on the very western extremity which has recently been felled and replanted with Douglas Fir).

    2.2. Within the centre of the arable land and therefore the mineral extraction area, as shown on Plan 1, are two tenanted properties known as the North Plumley Cottages. To the north-east just beyond the corner of the extraction area is a property known as North Plumley Farmhouse. To the south, as well as Plumley Farm, there are two further properties shown on Plan 1 as Wiggs Cottage and Harefield Lodge. Stand-offs from the mineral extraction area would be employed.

    2.3. The agricultural land produces a good quality high yielding and consistent crop. It is farmed by a tenant of the Forestry Commission. The Commission has a 999 year lease with the landowner, Somerley Estate.

    2.4. Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley footpath No.23 runs north-south through the arable land and extraction area. Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley footpath No.38 runs east-west to the south of Plumley Farm and Harefield Lodge.

    2.5. Sleep Brook, another watercourse, lies beyond the site boundary to the north.

    2.6. The former Burnt Hill Quarry is located to the south of the extraction area separated from it by Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley footpath 38, woodland and the properties of Harefield Lodge and Plumley Farm.

    Burnt Hill

    2.7. The former Burnt Hill quarry was worked for gravel many years ago and was more recently managed for nature conservation under a now revoked Nea Farm planning permission and a ten year management plan which expired on 31 December 2008. The aims of the management plan to develop heathland predominantly through grazing were not successfully achieved as expected largely due, it is understood, to the terrain left after past mineral extraction.

    2.8. The Burnt Hill area, as shown on Plan 1, extends across a total area of approximately 15 hectares. The majority of the site to the north-east (around nine hectares) comprises an ecologically rich, part wetland, wooded heathland habitat with a stream flowing through it. This would not be affected by the development other than the line of the conveyor running across its western edge.

    2.9. The area subject of the application for siting of the proposed washing plant comprises approximately 2.5 hectares of old stockpiles and bunds with some vegetation cover. Land to be used for mineral stockpiles at Burnt Hill would comprise an area in the north-west corner of the site of approximately 1.3 hectares and an area to the south of the plant of approximately 1.2 hectares. The very south-east corner of the former quarry would be restored to nature conservation and comprises approximately 0.8 hectares.

    2.10. The nearest property to the site, as shown on Plan 1, is Harefield Lodge, separated from the plant site by Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley footpath No. 38 and woodland. It lies approximately 220 metres from the washing plant and 70 metres from the proposed deep sand storage area. Plumley Farm is located to the north-east of Burnt Hill approximately 350 metres from the washing plant and separated from the site by the mature valley mire ecological area. Public footpath No. 30 also makes use of a forest track and runs along the western boundary of Burnt Hill at original and therefore higher ground levels.

    2.11. Nea Farm Cottage East (listed building) and West are located to the south of the Burnt Hill site, approximately 200 metres from the washing plant and approximately 45 metres from the southern boundary of the Burnt Hill site. The properties are separated from the Burnt Hill site by their gardens and woodland owned by Somerley Estate, which would be protected from felling if permission were granted.

    2.12. Harbridge Court, to the south-west, comprises several individual properties converted from a former farm complex which used to belong to the Somerley Estate before it was sold and converted into residential properties. The complex includes a nationally Listed walled garden.

    2.13. At its nearest point, the edge of the walled garden is approximately 90 metres from the edge of the former Burnt Hill Quarry site and approximately 300 metres from the washing plant. The nearest property in the complex to the site is known as The Granary. This is approximately 110 metres from the edge of the Burnt Hill site and approximately 300 metres from the proposed washing plant.

    2.14. The former Burnt Hill Quarry base is approximately four metres below surrounding ground levels.

    Nea Farm Quarry

    2.15. Nea Farm is an active quarry which secured planning permission initially in 1995 (051485) for mineral extraction, with a minerals plant site at Burnt Hill which was not implemented by the previous applicant. Instead the current applicant gained planning permission in the late 1990s (00056888M) to work Nea Farm by way of conveyor over the River Avon and through the Somerley Estate to the existing mineral plant site at Blashford, which was implemented. In 2007 permission was granted for deep sand extraction at Nea Farm (06/88238) and this consent involved the consolidation of a number of consents and associated agreements, including the Burnt Hill management agreement. Nea Farm has permission to be worked until 2014.

    2.16. The new section of conveyor proposed would be sited along a partially restored section on the very northern boundary of Nea Farm Quarry sunken into a `ha-ha'. The nearest properties to the conveyor would be Shepherds Cottage to the south of Shepherds Lane, which is a listed building and tenanted by staff/occupiers of the Estate.

    Blashford Plant

    2.17. Blashford plant site, as shown on Plan No.3, has existed in its current location for many years, although additional plant and operations have been granted on the site over time. It comprises a mineral bagging plant where gravel is bagged to go to DIY stores and other retail outlets; a concrete mix plant; a recycling plant; a washing and minerals grading plant and associated offices and facilities. Currently mineral from Nea Farm is transported across Somerley Estate and River Avon Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the Avon Valley Special Protection Area (SPA), Ramsar and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by conveyor to Blashford. The mineral is washed and the resulting silt is pumped underground up to Ellingham Quarry, as shown on Plan 4. Ellingham Quarry is currently being restored to agricultural land through the silting, and a lake for nature conservation is to be created. A footpath has been secured through the planning permission which runs along the eastern boundary of Ellingham together with statutory footpaths to the east and south of Blashford.

    2.18. The nearest residential property to the proposed extension to the plant site would be Karma Cottage, approximately 200 metres to the south. Properties on Ellingham Drove would be approximately 115 metres from the northern boundary of the plant site and 100 metres from the toe of the proposed screening bund. Ellingham Lodge, as shown on Plan 3, is located approximately 110 metres from the site and around 90 metres from the toe of the proposed screening bund.

3) The Proposal:

    3.1. Planning permission is sought for the extraction of approximately six million tonnes of sand and gravel and 330,000 tonnes of underlying soft sand at Plumley Wood, with associated development at Burnt Hill, Nea Farm Quarry and Blashford Quarry. Restoration at Plumley Wood post mineral extraction would be at low level to arable farming, commercial forestry, deciduous woodland and heathland. Restoration at Blashford plant site would be to agriculture and at Nea Farm to agriculture and historic park land. Restoration at Burnt Hill would be to heathland.

    3.2. The planning application represents a 17 year development proposal comprising the following four key elements:

    (i) Mineral Extraction and Silting at Plumley Wood

      The extraction of approximately six million saleable tonnes of concreting sand and gravel, together with the extraction of a further 335,000 saleable tonnes of underlying building sand (the deep sand). The deep sand is found in the south-east corner of Plumley Wood and the extraction of the overlying sand and gravels in the south-east corner, followed by the deep sand extraction, would create the silt lagoons that are necessary for the operation of the development. If permission is granted, the creation of the silt lagoons would be part of the initial enabling works. The overlying sands and gravels would be in storage for a temporary period of around two years on the southern part of the former Burnt Hill Quarry. The deep sand would be stored in the north-west corner of the former Burnt Hill Quarry. The site would be worked progressively in an anti-clockwise direction, commencing northwards from the silt lagoons along the eastern boundary. The silt washings (derived from the washing plant at Burnt Hill) would be pumped back to the settlement lagoons at Plumley Wood and the site progressively restored to a combination of agriculture, heathland, deciduous woodland and commercial forestry using only on-site overburden and soils at low level.

    (ii) Mineral Washing, Mineral Storage and Nature Conservation Management at Burnt Hill

        Proposals at Burnt Hill would involve the construction of a mineral washing plant within part of the void of the former Burnt Hill Quarry, which would be contained within a building measuring approximately 14 metres x 16 metres x 14 metres high to minimise noise emissions. Deep sand would be stored for several years in the north-west corner of the former Burnt Hill Quarry whilst the overlying sand and gravels would be stored short term in the southern most part of the former quarry. After around two years, the overlying minerals stored to the south would be conveyed to Blashford for processing and the area on which they once stood would be restored to heathland and managed in the long-term for nature conservation, by way of a legal agreement attached to any permission that may be granted. Likewise, when the deep sand is conveyed down to Blashford, the north-west corner of the former Burnt Hill Quarry would be restored to heathland and managed in the long-term for nature conservation. The undisturbed ecologically rich area in the north-east corner of Burnt Hill Quarry would be managed for nature conservation from commencement of works under a Section 106 Agreement. The aim of the proposal is that once the extraction is complete at Plumley Wood and the washing plant has served its purpose, then it would be removed from the Burnt Hill site so that all the land could be restored to heathland and managed for nature conservation by way of a legal agreement. `Long Term' management with relation to this application is considered to be a period of around 50 years.

      (iii) The Use of Field Conveyors to Transport Plumley Wood Mineral to Blashford Plant Site

        The conveyor system would comprise the extension of the existing overland conveyor system (which currently links Blashford Plant Site to the active extraction area at Nea Farm Quarry) north-westwards to Plumley Wood. The extended conveyor system would require an enclosed conveyor bridge crossing over Harbridge Drove and under a public footpath and track at Plumley Wood. This conveyor system would enable all the mineral extracted from Plumley Wood to be transported to Blashford Plant Site (via the mineral washing plant at Burnt Hill) for processing and onward sale without the need for any mineral lorries hauling the mineral from Plumley onto the highway network. The conveyor bridge would be coloured an earthy-green and climbing plants would be encouraged to grow across it. It would be at least 2.5 metres deep to enable maintenance personnel to walk inside the conveyor under cover.

      (iv) The Phased Redevelopment and Extension of Blashford Plant Site

        The phased redevelopment of the aggregate processing plant, concrete plant, bagging plant and secondary aggregate recycling facility, together with the main office weighbridge and workshop at the existing Blashford Plant Site. This would take place in two phases, include a northerly extension of the plant site towards Ellingham Drove on a restored area of land known as Lodge Field. It is proposed that the recycling facility would be relocated to the very northern periphery of the plant site nearest Ellingham Drove. The plant site would be screened from Ellingham Drove by earth bunds approximately six metres high, the toe of which would come to within a few metres of the hedgerow separating Ellingham Drove from the application site. The land and the bund between Ellingham Drove and the plant site would be landscaped. The site would be restored at the end of the development to a combination of agriculture and woodland. The proposal includes key variations to the existing planning permission (Ref: 06/88238) which would provide extended hours of working, and stockpile heights of seven metres and additional storage capacity for recycled aggregates at Blashford.

    3.3. The red-line planning boundary for the proposed development encompasses the approved planning boundary for the existing Nea Farm Quarry (mineral extraction) and Blashford Quarry (mineral processing and recycling). As a consequence, should the applicant secure consent for Plumley Wood, it is intended that a single permission would control the development of Blashford, Nea Farm, Burnt Hill and Plumley Wood Quarries.

    3.4. The applicant adds that the Somerley Estate, separate from this application, entered into a Higher Level Management Scheme with Natural England in August 2008 where the conveyor runs through the Avon Valley SPA with the aim of managing the land in a way suitable for breeding waders and for wintering waterfowl. The applicant states that waders are an interest feature of the SSSI and are not a reason for the classification of the SPA, so that any hypothetical potential for a negative effect on waders from extension of the life of the conveyor does not require assessments though it has an effect on a European site. Similarly, the two wintering waterfowl species for which the SPA is classified do not occur in this part of the SPA and so cannot be affected by the conveyor. Natural England's predecessor representative had accepted this and had also accepted that the conveyor had no effect on the River Avon SAC.

4) Environmental Statement:

    4.1. The proposal is an EIA Development under the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 1999 and an Environmental Statement (ES) has been submitted with the application. An outline summary of key sections of the environmental statement are listed below.

    Dust

    4.2. The main aspects of the development with the potential to create dust and therefore impact on the air quality of the surrounding environment are outlined below:

    (i) overburden and soil removal and screen bund formation;

    (ii) mineral extraction;

    (iii) transport of extracted materials to processing site;

    (iv) processing of mineral at Burnt Hill and Blashford/stockpiling at Burnt Hill;

    (v) redevelopment and extension works at Blashford Plant Site; and

    (vi) restoration of Plumley Wood, Burnt Hill, Blashford Plant Site and the conveyor route.

    4.3. The ES concludes that potential for dust nuisance to occur as a result of the proposed development is considered to be minimal, particularly with the adoption and implementation of the recommended mitigation measures.

    Ecology

    4.4. The application proposes working the Plumley Wood site with progressive restoration, over a period of approximately 15-20 years. Ongoing surveys will ensure that important species are safeguarded, while advance habitat creation on unworked land and land progressively restored will provide receptor sites for those that must be translocated or can themselves colonise these areas. Restoration will replace the extent of farmland and create approximately 39 hectares of wet and dry heathland, as well as native woodland and wetland.

    4.5. At Burnt Hill, approximately nine hectares of acid grassland, woodland and wetland adjacent to the proposed plant site will be managed for biodiversity throughout the project, providing additional habitat for important species. The washing plant and stockpile area will be restored to heathland and the combined 12 hectares of heathland managed in the long-term for nature conservation.

    4.6. Measures will be taken to ensure no negative effects on biodiversity occur, either elsewhere within the application site or off-site on land of importance for wildlife.

    4.7. The ES concludes that the project, which complies with relevant local authority planning policies, will result in a significant enhancement of the biodiversity value of the Ringwood Forest SINC and a major contribution to a number of UK and Hampshire Biodiversity Action Plan objectives.

    Noise

    4.8. The ES considers that on the basis of the predicted noise and vibration levels, the proposed development is not likely to give rise to either adverse or unacceptable noise or vibration impact on the amenity of local residents.

    4.9. Once the proposed works of extraction, restoration and processing have been completed and the site restored there should be no further noise impact on local residents from the site.

    4.10. The ES concludes that it has been shown by calculation that the appropriate noise limit criterion set by MPS2 at the nearest noise sensitive properties, based on the lowest measured background level in the area, can be achieved, even in temporary worst-case situations, by the provision of soil bunds as set out in the various sequence plans and by appropriate mitigation.

    Highways

    4.11. The ES considers that the additional HGV traffic on the A338 would have an insignificant impact on highway capacity and falls within the existing variations recorded during the traffic surveys.

    4.12. It adds that by using the existing vehicular access at Blashford and utilising a conveyor system for transporting all extracted material to the processing plant at Blashford there would be no significant adverse impacts in terms of highway capacity, safety or residential amenity and that the proposal supports the principles of local transport policy. In terms of the highway network, following completion of the proposed development there would be no residual impacts to consider, as development traffic would cease. Having considered the existing daily variations in traffic flow, reserve capacity of the A338 and site access, the proximity of the processing plant to the designated lorry route network, highway safety record and relevant transport planning policy, it is concluded that the proposed development is acceptable in terms of highway matters.

    Landscape

    4.13. In overall terms, the predicted landscape and visual impacts caused by the proposed development have been assessed as falling within a band that the area's landscape and visual resource can accommodate without causing any significant adverse impacts.

    Hydrology and Hydrogeology

    4.14. Abstraction for initial filling and ongoing top-up of the lagoon water management system would be made from Sleep Brook and will require an abstraction licence from the Environment Agency. The ES indicates that with a considerable factor of safety, sufficient flow is available for the filling and top up and that sufficient storage will be variable within the lagoons to support operations through extreme drought.

    4.15. Extraction of the economic mineral would occur above and below the water table with an average depth of sub water table workings of approximately four metres and a maximum of six metres over isolated areas. Any dewatering will require a Transfer licence and any off-site pumping will require a discharge licence. Restoration will be progressive and in part below the level of the existing water table in the terrace sands and gravels. The modified catchments would require the installation of a drainage system to prevent waterlogging and ensure that the wider restoration objectives may be achieved and also for the maintenance of existing drainage patterns from the site.

    4.16. The lowering of the water table affected by the operations and restoration to the west of the site has the potential to affect a well at Wiggs Cottage and a spring at Harefield Lodge. Monitoring, allied to contingent alternative supplies, is considered appropriate mitigation.

    4.17. Consultation with ecological specialists has established that any loss of seepage related habitat that may occur in the valley of Sleep Brook to the north-east of the site will be adequately mitigated by the proposed restoration of the site, which includes extensive wet heath.

    4.18. Monitoring of the pond at North Plumley Farm would need to be undertaken to ensure no impacts would occur.

    4.19. The site is located outside the 1:1,000 year flood envelope. A formal flood risk assessment has concluded that the design of the proposed development represents a comparative activity and flood risk will not be exacerbated as a result of its execution.

    4.20. The ES concludes that on the basis of the baseline investigations and subsequent impact assessment there are considered to be no overriding hydrologically or hydrogeologically related reasons why the proposed development should not proceed in the manner described in the application. This conclusion assumes that any permission that may be granted be conditioned by implementation and adherence to any relevant recommendations advanced within the hydrological report, any other conditions that may reasonably be imposed by the Planning Authority and subject to the consideration of ecological and archaeological specialist of the findings presented in the hydrological report.

    Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

    4.21. The ES concludes that the works associated with the extension of the existing conveyor route from Nea Farm Quarry to Blashford Plant Site, the installation of new washing plant at Burnt Hill and the extension and modernisation of plant at Blashford would not affect any cultural heritage features and accordingly no archaeological investigation would be required within these areas.

    4.22. With relation to the extraction area at Plumley, the ES identifies a potential for the presence of previously unidentified archaeological deposits and a programme of evaluation works will therefore be undertaken prior to the commencement of the development. There is a potential for the presence of artefacts of Palaeolithic date which could be disturbed in the course of gravel extraction. Measures will be incorporated into the extraction programme to allow for the identification and recovery of such artefacts and for the recording of the deposits in which they sit. It is proposed that a phased programme of investigation would be conducted within the site by way of a condition, reflecting that detailed in PPG16, being attached to any permission that may be granted. With regards to listed buildings near the site and the nationally listed walled garden at Harbridge Court, the ES concludes the development would have no adverse impacts.

    4.23. Overall the ES concludes that no significant effects on cultural heritage have been identified as a result of the proposals that would prevent the proposed development proceeding.

    Agriculture

    4.24. The ES highlights that at present this 60 hectare farm is considered viable. It states that the production of speciality thatching straw has provided a profitable niche market for this farm and that if this contract were to be lost the farm would cease to be viable unless other niche market crops could be sourced. In the long term, provided the agricultural land is restored to appropriate condition following extraction, the total area available for agricultural production would return to just over 58 hectares and the farm ought to be of sufficient size to remain viable- provided the contract for the thatching straw is not lost.

    4.25. The Agricultural report adds that in the long term the implementation of the working and restoration would have the net effect of increasing the area of best and most versatile agricultural land by 22.4 hectares. This is considered a moderate benefit.

    4.26. The ES concludes overall having looked at phasing, soil movement etc, that provided that the working and restoration proposals are carefully carried out the only permanent minor adverse impact would be the loss of 1.6 hectares of agricultural land. There would be a permanent gain of approximately 22.4 hectares of best and most versatile land in subgrade 3a by implementation of the restoration scheme. This is considered to be a moderate beneficial effect. The impact on the farm holding depends wholly on how the project is managed and how proactive the developer is to the needs of the agricultural business. Provided sufficient land remains or is made available elsewhere to ensure the critical business continues to be profitable there will be no long term adverse impact. Short term temporary impacts would need to be mitigated by means of financial compensation.

    Alternatives (Addendum)

    4.27. As a result of the formal Scoping Opinion, adopted by the County Council on 4 April 2007, and the subsequent feedback and discussions with various consultees, the applicant states it took the decision to 'drop' the Ellingham silting proposals due to the potential negative effects on the adjoining Avon Valley SSSI/ SPA/ Ramsar site and the River Avon SAC. As a consequence of the removal of Ellingham Quarry from the development scheme, an alternative location for silting was sought. With mineral processing proposed to be continued at Blashford and silting now proposed in the south-eastern quadrant of Plumley Wood, the next stage was to identify the best location to position the requisite mineral washing plant. The first stage of this process was to identify all potential alternative locations, ie those locations which avoided known and unacceptable environmental, amenity or active-development constraints. As a result of this exercise, eight 'Potential Washing Plant Alternative Sites' were identified .The second stage of the process was to undertake an environmental and operational evaluation of the eight sites in order to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each potential site. Notably, the evaluation considered not only the implications of locating the washing plant at each respective site but, equally as importantly, all associated implications for the development scheme. The third stage was to interpret and assess the findings of the Evaluation exercise. Having undertaken the above three stages of assessment, the preferred location for the washing plant was identified by the applicant as 'Site 3' at Burnt Hill.

    Design and Access Statement

    4.28. A Design and Access Statement was submitted with the application. It states that at the Blashford Plant Site a new public footpath has recently been constructed (and is in the process of being formally adopted) between the soil screen bund and the hedge along the eastern boundary of the Plant Site. This would be retained throughout the life of the development and was a requirement of a previous mineral permission at Blashford secured through a Section 106 legal agreement. The public Rights of Way located within or adjacent to the Plumley Wood site are footpath numbers 23, 30 and 38 and bridleway number BW42. Footpath no.23 runs north-south through the agricultural land along the track from Plumley Farmhouse in the south, to North Plumley Cottages in the centre, to North Plumley Farm. This footpath will be diverted to the west during the development of the site and realigned along a similar route as the site is restored. The diverted route would be constructed to a comparable surface quality. Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley Footpath numbers 30 and 38 and Bridleway no. BW42 would not be affected by the development, other than their routes being used by occasional vehicular traffic and footpath no. 38 would be bridged to gain conveyor access to Plumley Wood. The statement concludes that all public rights of way through or adjacent to the development site would be maintained throughout the life of the development. Footpath no. 23, would be diverted during the development, to the west of North Plumley Cottages and back towards the east by the end of Phase 4, although its final alignment will be slightly different to its current route.

5) Revisions/Amendments to Application:

    5.1. Since the application was submitted in February 2008, a number of revisions and additional/clarification information has been submitted in response to requests from the County Council and statutory consultees. Key revisions to the application were submitted in May, June and September 2008. Each set of formal revisions has been re-advertised as appropriate in accordance with the legislation and all stakeholders were re-consulted and neighbours notified. In addition, the key plans and documentation were placed on the County Council's website and the Liaison Panel kept informed.

    5.2. Revisions submitted in May 2008 include:

    (i) Addendum to Section 8 of the Environment Statement assessment of alternatives considered for the potential washing plant locations;

    (ii) revisions to Burnt Hill washing plant and mineral storage layout, incorporating placing building in acoustically clad dark green coloured building; erecting a six metre high gravel screening bund west-east across site; swapping types of mineral to be stored so that surface gravels stored to south of washing plant and deep sand to north-west. This is to reduce impact to nearest residential properties at Nea Cottage 1 and 2 so that the surface gravels would be short term storage and once moved after approximately two to three years would be restored immediately to nature conservation (heathland). The deep sand to the north- west would be moved after several years and restored to heathland thereafter;

    (iii) the replacement of the proposed conveyor bridge crossing of Plumley Track (Footpath 23) with a box culvert addressing concerns of residents about horses being frightened about traversing under the original proposal of a conveyor bridge;

    (iv) relocating the welfare facility and associated car parking to the northern boundary of the proposed washing plant site; and

    (v) revised proposals for Blashford Plant Site - including a revised Noise and Vibration Assessment taking account of the revised development proposals and an acoustic bund south of the washing plant at Burnt Hill.

    5.3. June - additional submissions include:

    (i) Nature Conservation survey information in response to a request by Natural England relating to surveys on water voles, aquatic vertebrates, otters, great crested newts; and

    (ii) clarification of visual impacts to Ellingham Day Nursery in response to concerns raised by the Day Nursery.

    5.4. September - revisions include:

    (i) increasing the mineral extraction buffer zone to nearest residential properties at Plumley Wood to a minimum of 100 metres. This has involved sterilisation of 403,700 tonnes of sand and gravel reducing the surface mineral from 6.5 to 6 million tonnes;

    (ii) submission of Nature Conservation After-care Management Strategies (AMS)(Revised);

    (iii) First Tranche of Biodiversity Management Plans for Plumley and Burnt Hill; Mitigation Strategy for Plumley, Burnt Hill and Blashford;

    (iv) Biodiversity Management Supervision Brief;

    (v) noise and dust revisions and additional information;

    (vi) Palaeolithic archaeological working scheme;

    (vii) lighting scheme and strategy; and

    (viii) Blashford revisions, including increasing distance between Ellingham Drove properties and edge of recycling plant to 100 metres.

6) Development Plan:

    6.1. Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton Minerals and Waste Local Plan (Adopted December 1998) Policy 19 Preferred Areas for the extraction of sand and gravel (Preferred Area No. 6 Plumley Wood and Farm) saved policy by Secretary of State Direction 21 September 2007.

    6.2. Hampshire Minerals and Waste Core Strategy (adopted July 2007): policies S1 (Sustainable Design, Construction and Demolition); S8 (Sand and Gravel Provision); DC1 (Sustainable Minerals and Waste Development); DC4 (Historic Heritage); DC6 (Highways); DC7 (Biodiversity); DC8 (Pollution, Health, Quality of Life and Amenity); DC10 (Water Resources); DC12 (Restoration and After-care); DC13 (Waste Management Facilities); DC15 (Sand and Gravel).

    6.3. Hampshire Portsmouth Southampton and New Forest National Park Minerals Plan Draft Development Plan Document July 2008 Policy M1 (Area 8 - Plumley Wood, Harbridge).

    6.4. Draft South East Plan March 2006 - policies NRM4, NRM7 and NRM8.

7) Consultations:

    7.1. The local Member, Councillor Heron, states: "I am aware that there is a great need to secure the minerals proposed to be extracted from Plumley Wood for the benefit of the county of Hampshire which would make a significant contribution to the county's mineral land bank. I have never had any objection to the principle of working Plumley Wood for mineral nor indeed to the transportation of the mineral by conveyor (as is proposed in this application) across the River Avon to be processed at the Blashford plant site. If this proposal only combined these elements, ie Plumley Wood extraction, conveyor and processing at Blashford, I am sure I would have no objection to the proposal as this is how the mineral was proposed to be worked in the 1998 Hampshire Portsmouth and Southampton Minerals and Waste Local Plan (HPSMWLP) where Plumley Wood was Preferred Area No. 6.

    However, the application before the Committee has not been submitted in full accordance with the criteria put forward in the HPSMWLP, because it proposes a minerals washing plant in the base of the old Burnt Hill Quarry and is therefore a departure from the Development Plan. I understand the implications of submitting the application as a departure from the Development Plan were highlighted to the company by County Council officers before the application was finalised and submitted. Nevertheless the company has made its decision to submit it as departure in this way.

    This proposal, to use Burnt Hill Quarry for many years as a washing plant, means that I feel I must object to this application. There are residents that live adjacent to the plant site to the south and the north that in my view could suffer noise and dust impacts over a long period. I acknowledge that Tarmac have revised the proposal since it was submitted and I have studied all these revisions in detail but even with the plant encased in a building at Burnt Hill I am not convinced that the nearby residents will not be impacted upon by the washing plant and associated activities taking place at the old Burnt Hill Quarry. It is my personal view that Tarmac has not put sufficient energy into looking for an alternative site for the washing plant. It is with some regret and disappointment that I feel I have no option now but to object to the application because of the proposal to use Burnt Hill as a washing plant, but object I must."

    7.2. The adjacent local Member, Councillor Clarke, can see no adverse impact from the development.

    7.3. New Forest District Council - raises no objection to the application, given that the proposals are acceptable in principle, as the site lies within the Preferred Area for such development. It adds that it would wish to see the requirements of the relevant consultees relating to nature conservation, noise and pollution issues respected and questions whether the necessary legal agreement for the conveyor bridge over the highway should be completed prior to determination.

    7.4. Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley Parish Council states it has previously approved Plumley Wood as the best `least worst' site for extraction and compared with other areas it would affect the least number of properties from the extraction and also obviates the need for any extraction from the site over a local road network completely unsuitable for this purpose.

    7.5. The mineral washing facility sited at Burnt Hill, `en-route' to Blashford, with silting at Plumley Wood, is a better and neater solution to that put forward in the Scoping document of 2007, and it is difficult to envisage that there is a location at Plumley Wood that can match the advantages of Burnt Hill for the washing plant site, with as minimal a visual impact and intrusion on the landscape. The ten year restoration of Burnt Hill to nature conservation has not been a great success. Bringing Burnt Hill back into use as the location for the washing plant gives an opportunity, after Plumley Wood excavation is complete, for the site to be more sympathetically landscaped with a more comprehensive and effective restoration scheme to a mixture of wet and dry heathland and scrub than exists at present. It is encouraging that all flora and fauna of value at Burnt Hill will be moved and re-established onto new or existing habitats on the Plumley Wood site.

    7.6. If permission is granted conditions should be attached requiring a detailed lighting and security lighting scheme. In low light conditions and after dark, supplementary infra-red cameras and lighting should be employed rather than using visible spectrum lamps with the daylight cameras.

    7.7. The potential noise intrusion from the washing plant has emerged as a matter of local concern and consideration should be given to lowering the washing plant further into the site and/or researching additional acoustic attenuation to the equipment.

    7.8. `Greening' of the conveyor gantries over Harbridge Drove for example by way of green colouring and with indigenous creepers would help reduce visual impact. The Parish Council requests whether the provision of an aerial wildlife `corridor' over the gantry at the Harbridge Drove could be considered.

    7.9. With regards to the Blashford extension the Parish queries whether the proposed stockpile height is fully warranted and whether sufficient screening is proposed to conceal them. The new processing plant, proposed starting time 6 am, would generate noise very near to the night-time noise limit based on MPS2 criterion. The Parish requests whether further noise reduction options could be looked into to reduce this figure, such as attenuation panels, siting of stockpiles, etc. This applies equally to the recycling plant, which will operate at a level very close to the day-time MPS2 noise limit criterion.

    7.10. The 6am start at Blashford is of particular concern to local residents.

    7.11. The proposal to include a visitor/education centre in the Blashford complex is very much welcomed. Under any Section 106 Agreement it is suggested that the Highways Authority agrees to clear out the ditches and soakaways on the A338 on a regular basis - the ditches at nearby Shaves Green are in a poor state and have not been dug out for years. The Highways Authority is also requested to extend the 40 mph zone north to include the entrance to the Blashford Quarry, as vehicles often overtake at the ghost island, especially when coming from Ringwood.

    7.12. Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley Parish Council welcomes the revision to the scheme, including the increased separation between properties and the quarry at Plumley and the additional six hectares of heathland compensation. It also welcomes the revisions to the bund, stockpile heights and resiting the recycling facility at Blashford. With regards noise it adds that at the time of formulation of its comments the views of the Environmental Health Officer were not yet competed and so noise is still of some concern.

    7.13. Alderholt (adjacent) Parish Council raises no objection to the application.

    7.14. Ringwood Town Council has two main concerns; the inappropriate siting of the washing plant at Burnt Hill and the unsuitable access off Harbridge Drove.

    7.15. Environmental Health Officer (EHO) raises no objection in principle to the proposal subject to conditions controlling hours of working, noise, and dust and lighting issues. An explanation note relating to the noise terminology and abbreviations used in the EHO's response, together with a full copy of his detailed response, are attached as Appendix 4 to this report.

    7.16. In summary the EHO states:

    (i) Plumley Mineral Extraction Area

      With the revised stand off distances and noise mitigation bunds and other proposed mitigation, the noise levels are in accordance with MPS2.

    (ii) Burnt Hill

      At the Burnt Hill site the noise levels shown for the enclosed washing plant are predicted at being approximately -26 dB below background levels during DAY-TIME period and therefore should not be audible. The combined noise levels of the washing plant and the wheeled loader operating for no more than six hours spread over two days per week will be approximately -1dB below the background noise level and is acceptable to the EHO.

    (iii) Nea Farm

      This site is covered by existing noise and dust conditions and accordingly, taking into account the new conveyor line across the northern boundary, the EHO has no concerns subject to existing mitigation being brought forward should any planning permission be granted.

    (iv) Blashford Plant Site

      a. The BS4142 assessment for the Blashford Plant Site shows that during the NIGHT-TIME period 06:15 to 07:00 hours with the concrete batching plant, bagging plant and associated vehicle movements the assessment for complaints lies roughly between that of marginal significance and complaints are unlikely.

      b. The BS4142 assessment for the Blashford Plant Site shows that during the DAY-TIME period with the concrete batching, bagging plant and recycling operations and associated vehicle movements the assessment for complaints lies roughly between that of marginal significance and complaints are unlikely.

      c. The predicted noise level calculated using BS5228 at Ellingham Lodge during the NIGHT-TIME period of Phase 1 construction works is 1dB in accidence of that allowed for NIGHT-TIME operations under MPS2 and therefore the EHO recommends that this operation is not allowed before the times of 07:00 hours Monday to Friday and 08:00 hours on Saturday.

      d. During phase 2 at Blashford Plant Site, the BS5228 calculated noise level is +3dB above background and with a 5dB penalty (if referring to assessing for complaints) then this would equate to +8dB above background which is erring towards `complaints are likely'.

      e. The noise during the DAY-TIME period from the combined operations, ie processing plant, bagging plant, cement batching plant, recycling operations and associated vehicle movements at Blashford Plant Site calculated at the nearest noise-sensitive premises in accordance with BS5228 at Ellingham are acceptable to the EHO.

      f. The noise levels from the processing plant at Blashford Plant Site during the NIGHT-TIME period predicted at Karma Cottage are below the background levels and are therefore not of concern to the EHO.

      g. With regards to dust the EHO states no objection subject to the operations being undertaken in accordance with the Dust Monitoring and Mitigation Scheme (V2) submitted on September 2008, and subject to a condition of a dust ambient background assessment being undertaken for a period of no less than six months during the spring and summer periods to ascertain ambient background dust levels.

      h. With regards to light impact, the applicant is currently preparing a lighting plan for the existing and predicted light levels emanating from the development area at the nearest light sensitive premises, showing horizontal lighting levels at the agreed light sensitive premises and also vertical luminance levels at ground floor and first floor levels at the agreed light sensitive premises.

    7.17. Highway Authority - the comments of the Highway Authority are summarised below:

    (i) The Highway Authority raises no objection in principle to the development, subject to conditions and a legal agreement covering the need for lorry routing, a financial contribution towards works on the A338, carrying forward existing obligations relating to the Nea Farm permission and matters relating to restoration of footpaths altered for use by the conveyor and the conveyor bridge over Harbridge Drove.

    (ii) The Highway Authority states a Transport Statement (TS) has been prepared and submitted in support of the application which considers the potential impacts of the proposed developments on the local highway network. A Design and Access Statement and a Planning Statement have also been provided by the applicant to support the development proposals.

    (iii) The total additional vehicle numbers on the wider network as a result of the proposal (29 total vehicle movements per day) equates to some three additional HGV movements per hour, which is not considered significant, and is shown to be contained well within daily fluctuations of traffic levels on the A338. This increase represents a 0.2% increase in total traffic levels on the A338 over the 12 hour period, and an increase of some 2.5% of total HGV traffic flows.

    (iv) The TS has demonstrated that the A338 will have significant spare capacity in the event that the proposals are permitted.

    (v) The A338 in this location is categorised as a Primary Route (which is a Local Lorry Route), whilst the A31 and A303 to which the A338 connects are designated as Primary Routes (part of the Strategic Lorry Route network). No Personal Injury Accidents have occurred at the existing Blashford junction over the past four years.

    (vi) The applicant has provided evidence that it holds sufficient rights to use the existing access track from Harbridge Drove to Burnt Hill for staff and construction traffic and also the track designated as public footpath 38 serving the wider Plumley Wood.

    (vii) The conveyor bridge will need to be constructed under an appropriate legal agreement (Section 278 and 176) with the County Council and provisions made for the removal of the bridge at the conclusion of its use.

    (viii) In consideration that activities at the Blashford Plant Site are programmed to cease in 2014 following the completion of mineral extraction connected with Nea Farm, and that this permission will prolong activities and traffic impact on the road network past this period until at least 2025, it is considered that a transport contribution should be secured to mitigate the additional impact as a result of this application. This contribution should be secured towards the maintenance and improvement of local roads, particularly the A338, and should be secured within a legal agreement with the County Council prior to the granting of planning permission.

    7.18. Natural England - Natural England requires that the area to the south of the plant site at Burnt Hill used for mineral storage is managed for nature conservation after two years via a legal agreement and management plan. Natural England is keen to see the maximum area of heathland restoration as a part of the proposal. Natural England states that if the life of the conveyor is to be extended it recommends that a Higher Level Management Scheme (HLS) is agreed before planning permission is granted that will improve the condition of the water meadows and that they will be maintained for the lifetime of the conveyor.

    7.19. The amended/additional proposals include the expansion of heathland habitats, a key BAP priority for this area, prior to, during and following mineral extraction. Natural England is generally satisfied with the management proposals for existing and proposed heathland areas. "However, to ensure satisfactory establishment on new mineral working areas, we recommend that the spreading of baled heather, taken from a suitable donor site in the New Forest or Dorset Heaths, should be an obligation rather than an option (paragraph 2.3.2.7 of the After-care Management Strategies and Restoration Plans refers). We envisage there will need to be a commitment to a sustainable grazing regime to ensure long term benefits."

    7.20. Natural England is satisfied with proposed arrangements for safeguarding protected species in the Plumley Wood/Burnt Hill areas. "From the information provided (letter from the applicant's ecological consultant) it would appear unlikely that there would be significant adverse impacts on the Dorset Heaths SPA/SAC/Ramsar and Cranbourne Common SSSI, either in terms of hydrological impacts or disturbance to fauna within the designated area itself. Therefore Natural England has no objection regarding these issues".

    7.21. Natural England has also considered the proposed development in the light of the Government's policy for the protection of the best and most versatile agricultural land as set out in paragraphs 28 and 29 of Planning Policy Statement 7, "Sustainable Development in Rural Areas". It makes a number of recommendations, including that a detailed after-care scheme confirming the agricultural management strategy to be adopted should be prepared and submitted to the mineral planning authority. This should be detailed and accord with MPG 7, and be submitted to the Mineral Planning Authority at least three months before spreading of subsoil commences.

    7.22. As with all potential impacts on European sites, Natural England recommends that the County Council, as the Competent Authority, should address these issues in accordance with the process required by the Habitat Regulations. The County Council may wish to consider producing a screening document showing that all relevant issues have been addressed and recording the evidence/professional judgements used to support the conclusions. Natural England would be pleased to comment further as necessary.

    7.23. Natural England adds in relation to its initial comments that the existing HLS agreement is only for a period of ten years and therefore it would recommend a planning condition to maintain the HLS management regime for the lifetime of the conveyor, whether or not the HLS agreement is renewed. "I would therefore suggest that, as a further mitigation measure, to offset any potential disturbance/enclosure effects that the conveyor may cause, consideration is given to restoration of two adjacent areas of woodland/scrub restored to wet fen. The two woodland/scrub areas concerned are to the north of the Estate drive and on either side of the river to the west of the water meadows. I believe that currently the two areas are shown in the HLS agreement, but any clearance works have yet to be determined; potentially any agreed clearance works could be considered for funding within the HLS agreement. If the applicant is willing to consider this additional work, either within or outside the HLS agreement, I suggest it would be desirable to refer to this within any planning permission which may be given".

    7.24. Natural England has no specific comments relating to the revised proposals for the Blashford mineral processing site or the proposed variation of planning conditions.

    7.25. Environment Agency - following the submission of additional survey information the Agency raises no objection to the application.

    7.26. South-East England Regional Assembly - (SEERA) states that on the basis of the information provided it is considered that the proposal does not materially conflict with or prejudice the implementation of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RPG9 and Alterations and the draft South East Plan). SEERA also adds that if the County Council is minded to grant permission it should also address appropriate mitigation measures concerning air quality and noise to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency to accord with the objectives of Policy 7 of RPG9 and policies NRM7 and NRM8 of the draft South East Plan; appropriate measures concerning transport to accord with the objectives of the Regional Minerals Strategy; protection and enhancement of the biodiversity of the development area in a accordance with Policy E2 of RPG9 and Policy NRM4 of the draft South East Plan; and restoration plans are sufficient to deliver regional biodiversity targets and ensure the achievement of high quality environmental standards in line with Policy W14 of RPG9.

    7.27. Forestry Commission England states it was involved in discussions on the proposal at an early stage by the applicant and is pleased to see that suggestions made by the Forestry Commission have been included in the submission.

    7.28. Airport safeguarding - states it has no safeguarding objection to the proposal subject to conditions, including no feeding of wildfowl on the site during operation or after restoration; and no islands or narrow peninsulas created either deliberately or inadvertently in feral goose breeding habitats.

    7.29. Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) supports the proposal to restore significant areas of wet and dry heathland from former areas of conifer plantation at Plumley Wood and Burnt Hill, in addition to other commitments on behalf of the developers to manage and restore additional areas and features for biodiversity interest. The RSPB urges the Council to ensure that proposals, in particular heathland restoration, are maximised and that the future projection and management of these areas is secured via appropriate legal agreements. The RSPB would be pleased to be involved in the wider restoration and future management of the area and would be pleased to meet with Hampshire County Council to discuss partnership working in further detail. It adds that, although it welcomes the proposals to bring adjacent areas of the European sites into favourable condition, if impacts on the valley a clear distinction must be made between proposals for enhancement and proposals that aim to mitigate impacts on European site interest, which in RSPB's view needs to be assessed through the process of appropriate assessment.

    7.30. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HWT) - comments awaited.

8) Representations:

    8.1. As of 13 December 2008, 19 members of the local community have made representations to the application. These comprise one letter of support, six persons making comment and 12 members of the local community raising objection.

Support

    8.2. A letter of support has been received from the occupant of Harefield Lodge adjacent to the Burnt Hill washing plant and near the Plumley extraction areas, which states that proposing a conveyor is far preferable to having lorries regularly using the local roads as a haul route. It adds that, whilst no-one wants extraction on their back door and it would be on his back door, the gravel is there to be taken and the best place for the washing plant is Burnt Hill. Suggestions by residents of Harbridge Court that the washing plant should be moved further west or north into Plumley would increase the distance the material would have to be conveyed and cause more environmental impact. When the gravel was extracted at Burnt Hill "you were not aware it was happening it was so quiet".

Concerns/Comments

    8.3. Concern has been expressed from the occupant of Wiggs Cottage adjacent to the Plumley Extraction area that at a Liaison Panel meeting residents of Harbridge Court suggested moving the washing plant from Burnt Hill to the Plumley Wood area. The occupant of Wiggs Cottage adds that any revisions should not include relocating the washing plant from Burnt Hill to Plumley Wood. She considers that Burnt Hill is a natural pit, and because of this any noise or dust would be contained.

    8.4. Initially when the application was first submitted, the tenant farmer of the landholding known as Plumley Farm raised concerns that, by restoring the extraction site at low level to agriculture, the quality of the existing soils and the ability of the land to provide a consistent top quality crop would be lost forever. The fears related primarily to the removal of the 5-7 metres of surface sand and gravels. Whilst the farmer accepted that a metre or so depth of gravel would remain at the base of the quarry to assist drainage, as well as other mitigation measures, he was concerned and initially considered the only way to guarantee quality agricultural restoration and to ensure that what is restored is put back to at least an equivalent quality, was to fill the void with inert waste before replacing the soils which he felt would aid drainage of the land. He referred to the nearby Hamer Warren Quarries' initial phases which were restored successfully some years ago, back to agriculture. However, since he rasied these concerns, and since Natural England also wanted additonal clarification of some agricultural issues, additional information was submitted via the applicant and its Agricultural Consultants. The farmer now raises no fundamental objection to extraction of gravel at Plumley Farm provided that the ability to farm throughout the extraction period is safeguarded. He considers it is essential for the long term agricultural welfare of the area that a viable agricultural business continues to operate from Plumley Farm. The farmer is reassured to note that an under-drainage system would be installed to effectively replace the natural gravel drainage medium. He would support a condition requiring the applicant to restore the land back to at least the same quality land that it was prior to extraction and that a legally binding agreement is entered into to ensure that this would happen. He would also rather all topsoil be stored in stockpiles rather than some stored through spreading . Assurance is also required that the silt lagoons, being so near to the farm, would be restored to an equivalent agricultural quality to what is there now.

    8.5. Ellingham Day Nursery at Ellingham, near Blashford raises concerns that the scheme should not adversely impact on the hamlet of Elligham either visually, or by way of noise, dust, vibration or lighting.

    8.6. The resident of Karma Cottage to the south of Blashford raises concerns. She states she bought the property in 2004 and was therefore aware the plant site was there and that overall the company has been considerate neighbours. However she expresses concern about the proposals to bring forward the start time of the plant site from 7am to 6am and to end later at 18.30 rather than 17.00 hours. She states that the earlier start time of 6am as requested by the applicant should not be permitted as their bedrooms face the plant site. She adds that the proposal to extend start times on a Saturday to 6am is unreasonale. Currently they start at 8am which for a weekend is more acceptable. She says the applicant has expressed that the earlier times would just involve a member of staff unlocking the quarry and turning on the conveyor belt but they fear this would not be the reality and that lorries would start to arrive and leave the plant site. Reversing bleepers have also been intrusive. The concerns also represent those of their nearest neighbour at Goblins Green.

    8.7. Two residents of Ibsley make additional comments and one requests if permission is granted could there be a requirement for a financial contribution towards a new cycleway so that people can gain access to Ringwood Forest and the New Forest, a new footpath between the Blashford plant site and the River Avon with seats and a bird hide so that people can enjoy the rare habitat. The Somerely Estate should be required to restore the traditional water meadows on the estate which have been neglected, through a management agreement with the RSPB, with the mineral washing site proposed `en route' at Burnt Hill. The application proposes a neater solution than that put forward in the scoping document of 2007; it is more operationally logical than the discounted option of pumping the silt from the washing facility at Blashford back up to Plumley Wood and difficult to imagine there would be a better option at Plumley Wood. When site at Burnt Hill it would have minimal intrusion on the landscape. Following extraction the progressive restoration at Plumley Wood would produce more diverse and better quality habitats and agicultural land than exists at present. The nature conservation managment restoration of Burnt Hill has not been a great success and the proposal would enable Burnt Hill to be restored under a more appropriate management regime to wet and dry heathland. Lighting, incluing security lighting, should be kept to an absolute minimum and subject of condition; the question is asked whether possibility could be given to an aerial wildlife corridor over the conveyor gantry crossing Harbridge Drove.

        Objections

    8.8. The remaining 12 sources of representation raise objections predominantly to that part of the application that relates to siting the washing plant at Burnt Hill. The source of objections arise from eight residences near Burnt Hill, either within or adjacent to a residential complex of individual properties, (including Grade II Listed properties with a nationally Listed garden) collectively known as Harbridge Court. Objectors include Nea Cottage East immedialy south of Burnt Hill which is also a Grade II Listed Building separated from the washing plant area by an area of estate woodland; Reservoir Cottage situated between Chatsworth landfill and Harbridge Court; and Desmond Swayne MP of Fordingbridge. Objections are raised on the grounds summarised below:

    (i) The Burnt Hill part of the proposal is a departure from the Development Plan.

    (ii) The Burnt Hill part of the proposal conflicts with the Ringwood Forest Development Brief.

    (iii) The Burnt Hill washing plant proposal would cause an adverse impact on local amenities by way of increased noise, dust and lighting.

    (iv) The Burnt Hill part of the proposal would cause an unacceptable impact on nature conservation which until last year was protected by a Section 106 agreement for nature conservation management; one objector states the Management Plan does not expire until 2012.

    (v) Alternative sites dismissed by the applicant for the washing plant would cause fewer environmental impacts.

    (vi) The applicant does not have right of access over the junction to Harbridge Court with Harbridge Drove for mineral construction and related traffic.

    (vii) Earlier start times at Blashford could cause a noise problem to residents to the south of the plant site.

    (viii) Preliminary/enabling works would commence three to four years before extraction at the Nea Farm Quarry is completed.

    (ix) If road signs or bollards were to be erected near Harbridge Court because of the development this would impact upon the character of the area.

    (x) Under the European Directive the applicant should have consulted local residents on the Environmental Statement and this has not been done.

    (xi) Data within the application was flawed hence the need for additional information to be submitted.

    (xii) Property searches did not reveal that Burnt Hill would be used as a washing plant and residents houses have been devalued because of the application.

    (xiii) Burnt Hill is a SINC and using Burnt Hill as an industrial site is a violation of Article 6.2 ( Directive 92/43 EEC - Conservation and Natural Habitats Wild Flora and Fauna) to which the UK signed up.

    (xiv) No need to use the privately owned access near Harbridge Court when there are other tracks linking with Footpath 23 north of this access.

9) Site Visit Report

    9.1. Eight Members of the Committee, Councillors Mrs Bailey, Beagley, Bryant, Cooper, Mrs Dickens, Hockley, McIntosh and Neal, with Councillor McIntosh in the Chair, undertook a site visit on 7 July 2008 to Plumley Wood, Burnt Hill, Nea Farm Quarry and Blashford Plant Site. The local Member, Councillor Mrs Heron, was also present. Members met representatives of New Forest District Council; Ellingham, Harbridge and Ibsley Parish Council; the applicants, Tarmac Limited; and five representatives of local residents.

    9.2. The Head of Planning and Development introduced the application and outlined the key features of the proposed application for extraction of sand and gravel from the Plumley Wood site, its transport by conveyor belt and storage and washing within a new plant building at Burnt Hill; its continued transport by conveyor to existing sand and gravel workings at Nea Farm and onward transport to the proposed extended plant site at Blashford.

    9.3. At Plumley Wood, Members viewed the areas of arable land and woodland proposed for sand and gravel extraction; the alignment of public footpath 23 where it crosses the site and the line of its proposed diversion; the point where public footpath 38 would cross the proposed conveyor belt; and the location of Plumley Farm, North Plumley Cottages, North Plumley Farmhouse, Wiggs Cottage, Harefield Lodge and their relationship to the application site.

    9.4. With regard to Burnt Hill disused mineral workings, Members viewed the line of the proposed conveyor belt and the point where it would cross Harbridge Drove on an enclosed bridge; the location of Nea Cottages, Harbridge Court and the historic walled garden and their relationship to the application site at Burnt Hill; the access track which would be used during the construction phase of the development; and the site of the proposed sand and gravel washing plant building. Members also were given permission to enter the rear garden of Nea Cottage No.2 and to walk across Somerley Estate woodland separating the cottage from the edge of the washing plant site at Burnt Hill, in order to assess the relationship of the property to the plant site both in terms of levels and proximity.

    9.5. With regard to Nea Farm Quarry, Members viewed the alignment of the proposed extension to the conveyor belt along the northern edge of the site; the areas of land restored to grazing at a lower level; the location of Shepherds Cottage and its relationship to the development site; and the active mineral workings at Nea Farm Quarry.

    9.6. With regard to the Blashford site, Members viewed the current operational plant and buildings and received an explanation of the way in which it was proposed to extend the site northwards with reorganisation of the stockpiling and recycling areas. They also viewed the sites of the nearest residential properties, Karma Cottage to the south-east and Ellingham Lodge to the north-west, together with the sites of Ellingham Church and Ellingham Day Nursery. They viewed the site of the proposed extension from Ellingham Drove and noted the location of the proposed six metre high noise attenuation bund which would also provide some visual screening from the north.

    9.7. It was reported that several aspects of the application were still under discussion between the County Council and the applicants.

    9.8. Members asked for the report to include the coloured plans displayed at the site visit, and details of heights, distances and gradients between the proposed mineral workings and the nearest properties.

10) Commentary:

    10.1. The principle of this site being worked for sand and gravel was secured through the 1998 Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton Minerals and Waste Local Plan (HPSMWLP) where it was Preferred Area No. 6. The site has been carried forward as a saved policy in the new Core Strategy (July 2007) and in the Draft Minerals Plan (July 2008). The main issues raised by the proposal are:

    (i) compliance with the Development Plan;

    (ii) need for the mineral;

    (iii) impacts on nature conservation;

    (iv) impacts on local amenities;

    (v) highways;

    (vi) impacts on agriculture;

    (vii) impacts on landscape;

    (viii) impacts on hydrology and hydrogeology;

    (ix) impacts on archaeology and cultural heritage;

    (x) alternative sites;

    (xi) access rights;

    (xii) rights of way; and

    (xiii) sustainability of proposal and climate change.

    Compliance with Development Plan and the Ringwood Forest Development Brief

    10.2. As a precautionary measure, the application was advertised as a departure from the Development Plan because there was a conflict between the Hampshire Portsmouth and Southampton 1998 Development Plan bullet point 10 (Criteria for Working Preferred Area 6 Plumley Wood attached as Appendix 2) and paragraph 6.2 of the Ringwood Forest Development Brief Supplementary Planning Guidance (2000) (attached as Appendix 3). The conflict relates to the use of Burnt Hill for minerals plant to serve the Plumley Wood extraction.

    10.3. The HPSMWLP considers a processing plant at Burnt Hill is acceptable subject to satisfying other criteria within the Plan as outlined in Bullet Point 10 of the Criteria for working Preferred Area No. 6, which states: "In the event that the unrestored gravel pit at Burnt Hill is proposed as a processing plant site to serve this area, the nature conservation and restoration requirements for that site specified in the planning permission for mineral working at Nea Farm would apply."

    10.4. The Ringwood Forest Development Brief was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance by the County Council in October 2000. The purpose of the development brief is "to provide non-statutory supplementary planning guidance for the development of the Ringwood Forest Preferred Areas. It seeks to balance the aim of ensuring continued supply of sands and gravel and provision for landfilling within this locality, with the aim of minimising disturbance and securing environmental benefits, including enhancing local biodiversity. It is not the purpose of this development brief to set out a detailed and comprehensive blueprint for mineral working development at Ringwood Forest". The brief also makes it clear that "Restoration proposals should be related to Biodiversity Action Plan targets, particularly for heathland."

    10.5. Since the application was submitted the issue of whether the application is a departure has been reviewed.

    10.6. The Town and Country Planning (Development Plans and Consultation) (Departures) Directions 1999 "the 1999 Departures Direction"1 defines a departure application as meaning "...... an application for planning permission for development which does not accord with one or more provisions of the development plan in force in the area in which the application site is situated".

    10.7. The issue is whether or not the planning application accords with the Development Plan (when considered as a whole) before considering other material considerations. The Ringwood Forest Development Brief falls into the category of an `other material consideration'. The conclusion is that the provision of a processing plant at Burnt Hill Quarry, in a location where the Criteria for Working contemplates that a processing plant might be located, would not of itself cause the planning application to fail to accord with the Development Plan.

    10.8. It is also concluded that failure to accord with the Ringwood Forest Development Brief does not make the proposal fail to accord with the Development Plan. The fact that the proposal to site a processing plant at Burnt Hill Quarry is inconsistent with paragraph 6.2 of the Brief is an `other material consideration' which weighs against the planning application. It can be concluded, therefore, that there was no requirement to advertise the planning application as a departure under the provisions of Article 8 (2) because the planning application cannot be considered to be a departure application as defined in the 1999 Departures Direction.

    10.9. Nevertheless, whilst the planning application is not a departure from the Development Plan, the Ringwood Forest Development brief is still a material planning consideration and the issue is whether the development proposal supports the purpose of the brief.

    10.10. It is noted that some residents have objected to the application on the basis that it is contrary to paragraph 6.2 of the brief. At the time the brief was written the Burnt Hill area was undergoing nature conservation management under a Section 106 agreement attached to the Nea Farm mineral permission. This agreement was revoked last year through the Nea Farm deep sand permission whereby a new permission was issued to cover Nea Farm, the conveyor, Blue Haze and Blashford. The revocation was part of the consolidation and modernisation process and was based on the nature conservation management at Burnt Hill not being able to adequately satisfy the aims and objectives of the management plan and not being able to safely support grazing to secure heathland on the site. Nevertheless, the ten year nature conservation management plan associated with the agreement remained in force until 31 December 2008.

    10.11. The proposal to use the western part of the old quarry floor as a location for a washing plant and temporary mineral stockpiles is in accordance with the Development Plan. It is also considered that the development complies with the purpose of the Ringwood Forest Development Brief in enhancing the site (Burnt Hill and Plumley) for nature conservation, in particular by increasing the area of heathland within the Forest, a UK BAP priority habitat - supported by Natural England. The ecological issues and proposed heathland enhancement is discussed in more detail under paragraph 10.13 below. It is noted that objectors state when they purchased their properties in the 2000s it was not shown that Burnt Hill would be used for a minerals washing plant. Clearly the potential and principle of being able to use Burnt Hill- not just for a washing plant- but for a full minerals processing plant- is included in the criteria for working Plumley Wood as outlined in the 1998 HPSMWLP and now carried forward as a `saved' policy.

    Need for the Mineral

    10.12. According to the Hampshire Minerals and Waste Development Framework Annual Mineral Monitoring Report (AMR) 2007/08, the overall Hampshire aggregate landbank at 1 January 2008 was 3.5 years. The landbank for the Forest area, into which Plumley Wood falls, is 4.5 years. Both figures are well below the seven year landbank requirements in MPS 1, and indicate a need for more mineral.

    Impacts on Nature Conservation

    10.13. The Plumley and Burnt Hill parts of the site are within Ringwood Forest, which is classified under the non-statutory designation as a SINC. It is classified as a SINC primarily because of the types of bird species living and breeding within the Forest. Ringwood Forest is predominantly coniferous commercial woodland with open heathland and scrub areas, managed predominantly by the Forestry Commission and also the Somerley Estate. However, there are also other wildlife species such as protected snakes and reptiles found within the Forest.

    10.14. The conveyor, as proposed to head east towards Blashford, currently crosses the River Avon, which is an SAC, an international nature conservation designation. It also crosses the Avon Valley which is an SPA and Ramsar which are all international nature conservation designations. Collectively these designated sites are known as Natura 2000 sites or European sites.

    10.15. Because these sites are of international importance for nature conservation and because an initial screening under the Habitats Regulations undertaken by Hampshire County Council concluded that the retention of the existing conveyor over the Natura 2000 sites may have a significant impact on the sites, the County Council as Competent Authority has undertaken a full Appropriate Assessment as required by Regulation 48 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994.

    10.16. Natural England requires an Appropriate Assessment to be undertaken in respect of any plan or project which is either alone or in combination likely to have a significant effect on a European site, and which is not directly connected with the management of the site for nature conservation. Its purpose is to determine in a series of stages whether the plan or project would significantly affect the integrity of the features for which the Natura 2000 sites are designated. Because of this, the Appropriate Assessment has only been concerned with two elements of the application: the continued operation of the existing conveyor and Blashford plant site (including the extension). This approach was agreed with Natural England.

    10.17. The Appropriate Assessment has concluded that the proposal either alone or in combination is unlikely to cause an adverse impact on the integrity of the Natura 2000 sites. So the proposal will not have any significant impact on the natural environment with relation to that part of the proposal relating to the conveyor across the Avon Valley and the Blashford plant site. It is noted that, prior to the Appropriate Assessment being concluded, Natural England raised no objections to the proposal subject to appropriate mitigation by way of legal agreement and planning conditions.

    10.18. The Plumley Wood and Burnt Hill parts of the proposal relating to mineral extraction and the washing plant and conveyor are within the Ringwood Forest. Natural England has raised no objection to the proposal subject to proposed mitigation and securing long term management of land to heathland. It welcomes the addition of six hectares of land for heathland to the west of the Plumley Wood extraction area that can be managed long term for nature conservation from day one of the development, enabling works being implemented.

    10.19. It is noted that objectors are concerned that the nature conservation value of Burnt Hill would be permanently lost or damaged were the proposal to go ahead. Whilst there is loss of that part where the washing plant would be for the length of the development, the land to the north-east in Burnt Hill would be managed long term for nature conservation from day one of the enabling works for the development commencing and the land to the south of the washing plant, and more latterly to the north-west also, within a few years would also be managed long term for nature conservation. Herpetological species would be translocated as per the submitted strategy on which Natural England has been consulted.

    10.20. In summary, the County Council considers that overall from commencement of the enabling works commencing, land in excess of eight hectares (six hectare compensation land and north-east of Burnt Hill) would be managed long term for nature conservation, fulfilling BAP Priority targets and adding to biodiversity of the Ringwood Forest area as well as contributing to National BAP targets. In the longer term this area would be around 40 hectares as the land is restored to nature conservation. It is noted than an objector has raised the issue that the correct procedures have not been followed. However, the correct procedure has been complied with whereby an Environmental Statement has been submitted with the planning application and it has also been correctly publicised. It is also noted that Natural England has suggested that higher level management scheme (HLS) subject of a partnership between Natural England and the Estate could be extended for the duration of life of the conveyor through a planning condition or Section 106 Agreement. The HLS is outside of the control of the applicant and does not form part of this application. Nevertheless, the Estate has said that it would be willing to extend the HLS as requested.

    Impacts on Local Amenities

    10.21. There have been a number of objections received from residents of Harbridge Court and its immediate vicinity, on the grounds that they would suffer significant adverse impacts by way of noise particularly, as well as dust and to a lesser degree lighting, should the development proceed. Those residents in or near Harbridge Court, including Nea Cottage East, state that they will hear noise from the washing plant at Burnt Hill and that it will create adverse dust impacts. Objectors also state that there would be an adverse impact from maintenance traffic which would use the access near their homes.

    10.22. Much additional information on noise, particularly, has been submitted. Having analysed all the additional information provided, the Environmental Health Officer has raised no objection in principle to the development subject to conditions. In particular, with relation to Harbridge Court, the Environmental Health Officer states in his comments (Appendix 4) that at the Burnt Hill site the noise levels shown for the enclosed washing plant are predicted at being approximately -26 dB below background levels during day-time period and therefore should not be audible. The combined noise levels of the washing plant and the wheeled loader operating for no more than six hours spread over two days per week will be approximately -1dB below the background noise level and is acceptable. Therefore, whilst there is understandable concern from residents, the Environmental Health Officer considers there is not going to be a noise issue to local residents living immediately to the south or indeed the north of Burnt Hill. The Forestry Commission uses the proposed access track for its articulated lorries that remove felled trees from the site, as does the tenant farmer of Plumley Wood and estate staff. It is considered that the occasional maintenance vehicles and the one member of staff arriving and leaving work for Plumley Wood and for Burnt Hill would be insignificant in terms of noise nuisance. With relation to Plumley Wood residents, the Environmental Health Officer, with the revised stand-off distances between the extraction zone and the nearest residential properties and other proposed noise mitigation, states the noise levels are in accordance with policy and guidance in MPS2 and accordingly he raises no objection to the extraction proposals subject to conditions.

    10.23. With regards to dust and lighting, the Environmental Health Officer has no objections subject to conditions, which include operations being undertaken in accordance with the Dust Monitoring and Mitigation Scheme (V2) submitted on September 2008. He has also requested that during summer months prior to the plant site enabling works commencing, some dust background levels are taken near the most sensitive properties. This would enable dust levels to be accurately monitored. Similarly, the Environmental Health Officer raises no objection to lighting details submitted subject to conditions, including the provision of lighting plans which will enable light impact to be more easily controlled and monitored.

    10.24. With regards to noise for the Blashford plant site and its proposed extension, the Environmental Health Officer has raised no objection subject to conditions, although it is noted that residents to the south have raised concerns that the applicant have applied to start work earlier at Blashford including Saturday. However, taking all matters into account, on balance it is considered that there is no valid planning reason to object to the application on amenity grounds.

    Highways

    10.25. It is noted that the Highway Authority raises no objections to the application subject to conditions and the County Council acquiring a financial transport contribution from the applicant to mitigate the additional impact as a result of this application. Accordingly, on balance it is considered there is no valid planning reason to object to the application on highway grounds. It is noted that some objectors have requested that there should be no signage or bollards if permission were granted as these would detract from the character of the area. However, for Highway/Right of Way safety reasons a few signs may be necessary, but the design of these signs, and their location, could be controlled by way of a planning condition.

    Impacts on Agriculture

    10.26. The existing agricultural land comprises land with Agricultural land Classification grades 2a, 3a and b. Only one small area on the south western edge of the arable land is grade 4. Whilst the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Natural England have been consulted on the issue of agricultural impacts and restoration, it is Natural England which has responded to date and provided the comments on agricultural issues. Natural England has raised the need for tightly worded conditions and site management to ensure the restoration to agriculture is successfully achieved. It is noted that the farmer has in recent correspondence stated that he has no fundamental objection to the proposal provided that the ability to farm throughout the extraction period is safeguarded.

    10.27. He considers it is essential for the long term agricultural welfare of the area that a viable agricultural business continues to operate from Plumley Farm, and that that a legally binding agreement is entered into to ensure that the land is restored back to the at least the same agicultual quality that the land is now. He would also rather all topsoil be stored in stockpiles rather than some stored through spreading. Assurance is also required that the silt lagoons, being so near to the farm would be restored to an equivalent agricultural quality to what is there now.

    10.28. The matters of land quality post restoration can be dealt with by planning conditions and site monitoring, during and after the restoration was completed. The issue of topsoil stockpiles could also, as is standard practice, be dealt with by condition attached to any permission that may be granted. However the aim of speading some of the topsoil early on land not being intially worked is proposed as mitigation to aid the farming business by improving land that could be used for agriculture whilst ,mineral operations would be ongoing. However, if the farmer considers he would rather not have other land improved then this is possible as long as the consequences of having less land available whilst workings are ongoing are understood. It is suggested that this matter is dealt with by a planning condition in order that details on approach can be agreed.

    10.29. The issue of continuity of agricultural business operations during the development, is detailed in the Agricultural Report within the Environmental Statement. This highlights that at present this 60 hectare farm is considered viable. In the long term, provided the agricultural land is restored to appropriate condition following extraction, the total area available for agricultural production would return to just over 58 hectares and the farm ought to be of sufficient size to remain viable.

    10.30. The Agricultural report adds that in the long term the implementation of the working and restoration would have the net effect of increasing the area of best and most versatile agricultural land by 22.4 hectares. This is considered a moderate benefit. This would be determined solely by the quality of the restoration and aftercare management undertaken by the applicant together with under drainage to be installed. Close monitoring of any conditions attached to any permission granted would therefore be an essential part of ensuring that the requisite land quality is restored and achieved through restoration and after-care. The applicant would need to be pro-active in ensuring there would be tight quality control in all aspects of the restoration particularly when under drainage is constructed and soils are re-placed across the land. With relation to the issue raised by the farmer regarding the silt ponds. The submitted information states that the settling and capping of the silt ponds would take a number of years to complete and would be assisted by willow rods held in pre-formed mats which is currently the practice used to help dry out the silt ponds and to provide structure and an element of organic matter into the silts. It is anticipated that it would take three to four years once the lagoons are no longer needed before the silt lagoons would be in a stable condition so as to commence capping with agricultural soils. To facilitate capping the willows would be coppiced and the timber removed as biomass. The stumps would be left in situ and treated with herbicide to ensure no further regrowth.

    Impacts on Landscape

    10.31. Key revisions to the scheme have involved moving and regrading the screening bund separating Ellingham Drove from the Blashford extension area with associated amendments to planting; regrading of the bank edges of the low level Plumley restoration and associated planting, and securing advanced planting on parts of the site. It is considered for amenity reasons that the woodland separating Nea Cottages East and West from Burnt Hill Quarry in the ownership of Somerley Estate, should have its long term existence secured by way of a legal agreement. This would ensure that the status quo of the character of the area when viewed from the rear garden of Nea Cottage East and West remains permanently as it is now. The Estate has said that it has no intention of felling these trees but because they do form a physical barrier it is advised that their long term retention is secured through a Section 106 Agreement.

    Impacts on Hydrology and Hydrogeology

    10.32. The Environment Agency and Natural England have raised no objections to the proposal, as revised, on hydrological or hydrogeological grounds. Licences will be required prior to development commencing relating to water abstraction and these are dealt with outside of this application as they would be issued by the Environment Agency.

    Impacts on Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

    10.33. No objection has been raised to the application on archaeological grounds, subject to prior written schemes of investigation being submitted and approved by the County Council and being subsequently implemented to the County Council's satisfaction. This would be dealt with by way of planning condition, as is normal practice, should planning permission be granted. It has also been demonstrated that there would be no adverse impacts to the setting of the nearby listed buildings and the nationally listed walled garden at Harbridge Court.

    Alternative Sites for Washing Plant

    10.34. An issue raised by the application was that the Environmental Statement, as initially submitted, did not explain where the alternative options were located that were discounted by the applicants for the siting of the proposed washing plant, or why Burnt Hill was selected as the preferred option. No explanation was given as to why the plant could not be sited at Plumley Wood or the existing Nea Farm Quarry.

    10.35. In response to a request for this information, the applicant submitted an addendum to the Environmental Statement regarding the alternative sites that were dismissed and the justification for the selection of Burnt Hill over other sites.

    10.36. The County Council examined the options that were dismissed by the applicant at Plumley and Nea Farm and concluded that, physically, the northern part of Nea Farm and the western edge of Plumley could have been acceptable in terms of noise and visual impacts. However, the applicant clarified that the options at Plumley on the western boundary were not practical nor acceptable to the company, as those options would have involved significant cost and operational phasing problems, as additional conveyors would have been necessary to take the mineral from the extraction areas to the washing plant at the western edge and then back again on a different conveyor to Blashford. Operationally this would have also meant that there were two conveyors to move every time the phasing changed. Additionally, land on the western edge is the best environmental and ecological option for the required additional six hectare nature conservation compensation area.

    10.37. With regards to the Nea Farm washing plant option, the applicant stated that the main reason the company could not go ahead with this option was because trustees of the Somerley Estate would not permit it to be sited there, as it would affect the trustees' long term plans for the estate. This has been confirmed by way of a letter from the Estate.

    10.38. Somerley House and the Estate Buildings are located very close to Nea Farm Quarry, which is being restored to a parkland landscape in accordance with its current mineral permission.

    10.39. It was for these reasons that the applicant studied the topography and location of Burnt Hill, which is due west of Nea Farm Quarry and due south of the Plumley extraction site. Being in the right `en-route' location and being at a lower level, the applicant concluded that, subject to appropriate mitigation including translocation of herpetological species, and sensitive design, the washing plant could be located here without having a significant impact on local amenities or nature conservation.

    Access Rights

    10.40. Objectors in and living near the Harbridge Court complex, state that the applicant does not have the right to access the Burnt Hill and Plumley Wood quarries for the purpose of operating the proposed mineral quarry. The applicant has submitted a letter from Somerley Estates Solicitors, Wilson's, clarifying that it does have rights to access, having taken Counsel's opinion. Having not seen any further evidence to the contrary from solicitors or counsel acting for the objectors at Harbridge Court who have raised this matter, the County Council has an obligation to determine this application on the basis of the evidence before it, i.e. that the estate and the applicant do have rights to access the site for the purpose of implementing the application. Moreover, this issue is a land ownership dispute and cannot be given much weight as a material consideration.

    Public Footpaths

    10.41. A number of public footpaths which are tracks used by the Forestry Commission, Estate, tenant farmer and occupiers of residential properties are to be used as construction and staff access to Burnt Hill and Plumley. Existing Ellingham Harbridge and Ibsley footpath No. 23 that runs north-south through the Plumley extraction area, will be diverted part way through the phased extraction onto a parallel existing trackway to the west. The Rights of Way Officer has raised no objection to the proposal subject to conditions. The proposal includes a new right of way to be designated through a Section 106 agreement linking Footpath No. 23 with land to the west outside of the application boundary. New rights of way have recently been implemented at Blashford relating to the permission granted last year for deep sand at Nea Farm. On balance, it is considered that the proposals during impanation of the development are acceptable and that post restoration there would be the benefit of an additional Right of Way.

    Sustainability and Climate Change

    10.42. The criteria for working the Plumley Wood mineral site in the 1998 HPSMWLP allows for the site to be worked by lorries hauling the mineral from the site via the public highway. This proposal, however, is utilising the existing conveyor from Nea Farm to Blashford Plant Site by constructing a conveyor extension from Nea Farm to Plumley with a conveyor bridge over Harbridge Drove. Such a proposal is supported by the Ringwood Forest Development Brief, by the Core Strategy and by Corporate policy because it is a solution that is sustainable and reduces carbon emissions.

    10.43. It also has the benefit of not adding numbers of vehicles to the public highway, thereby reducing impact on the rural character of the area, reducing the amount of maintenance required on the rural roads leading to and from the site; increasing highway safety in the vicinity of the site and reducing noise that would be generated in the vicinity of residents living near the site. It is considered that the proposed conveyor is a more environmentally sensitive and sustainable means of transporting mineral. It also has the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions.

11) Conclusion

    11.1. It is considered that the proposal is in accordance with the Development Plan and that there is an established mineral need. The revised development proposal would not adversely affect the River Avon and provides additional nature conservation value, by way of the addition of a six hectare area available from commencement of enabling works for heathland nature conservation, as well as the restoration of part of the mineral site to wet and dry heath and in the short, medium and long term, the management of Burnt Hill for nature conservation by way of heathland provision. A new footpath would be created in an easterly direction across the extraction site, the majority of which would utilise the alignment of an existing drove trackway. The existing arable land would be restored progressively back to high quality agricultural land and the conveyor is a sustainable and environmentally-sensitive solution to transporting mineral from the Plumley Quarry to Blashford - as indeed is the utilisation of an existing minerals processing plant at Blashford. Amenity and other potential impacts have been satisfactorily addressed through revised schemes and with the additional control of conditions and section 106 agreements that could be attached to any permission that may be granted. It is noted no statutory consultee has objected to the application.

    11.2. It is concluded that the proposal is in accordance with policy and that any adverse impacts the development may cause are addressed and outweighed by the need for the mineral and the nature conservation and access benefits of the scheme.

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background documents

 

    The following documents discuss facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and have been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

    (NB: the list excludes published works and any documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.)

 

    Document

    Location

    Proposed extraction of sand and gravel at Plumley Wood and associated development proposals at Burnt Hill Quarry and Blashford Quarry, Nr Ringwood
    (Application No. 08/91952)
    (County Council Ref: NF255)

    Environment Department
    Castle Avenue
    Room G, Lower Ground Floor

   

1872/483/JD

Annexe to Reasons for Conditions

(as required by Article 22 of the Town and Country Planning

(General Procedure) Order 1995 - as amended)

_________________________________________________________________

HAMPSHIRE, PORTSMOUTH AND SOUTHAMPTON MINERALS AND WASTE LOCAL PLAN (ADOPTED 17 DECEMBER 1998):

Policy 19 Preferred Areas for the extraction of sand and gravel (Preferred Area No. 6 Plumley Wood and Farm) saved policy by Secretary of State Direction 21 September 2007.

Policy 19

The Mineral Planning Authority will grant planning permission for the extraction of sand and gravel from land within the following preferred areas, as shown on the proposals map inset maps:

Area 6 - Plumley Wood and Farm, Ringwood Forest;

provided that the development proposals meet the specific criteria for the preferred area set out in the text accompanying the proposals map inset maps.

HAMPSHIRE MINERALS AND WASTE CORE STRATEGY DPD 2007:

Policy DC1 - Sustainable Minerals and Waste Development

Minerals and waste developments will only be permitted if they meet the standards outlined in Policy S1 and, in appropriate circumstances, are designed and constructed to use water and energy efficiently.

Policy DC4 - Historic Heritage

Minerals and waste development will be granted if due regard is given to the likely effects on the need to protect and safeguard sites of archaeological, historical, and architectural importance, and the settings of these sites.

Policy DC6 - Highways

Major mineral extractions, landfills and `strategic' recycling, aggregate processing and recovery and treatment facilities, will be permitted provided they have a suitable access to and/or route to the minerals and waste lorry route as illustrated on the Key Diagram.

In all cases, minerals and waste development will only be permitted if it pays due regard to the likely volume and nature of traffic that would be generated by the proposal and the suitability of the proposed access to the site and of the road network that would be affected. Consideration should be given to highway capacity, road and pedestrian safety, congestion and environmental impact, and whether any highway improvements are required and whether these could be carried out satisfactorily without causing unacceptable environmental impact.

Policy DC7 - Biodiversity

Minerals and waste developments will only be permitted if due regard is given to the likely effects of the proposed development on biodiversity and, where possible, proposals should conserve and enhance biodiversity.

Development likely to adversely impact upon `regionally or locally designated sites or protected species' - designated in adopted Local Plans or Local Development Frameworks - (including Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), Species of Principle Importance for Biodiversity, Regionally Important Geological Sites and Local Nature Reserves) shall only be permitted if the merits of development outweigh the likely impact.

Policy DC8 - Pollution, Health, Quality of Life and Amenity

Minerals and waste development will only be permitted if due regard is given to the pollution and amenity impacts on the residents and users of the locality and there is unlikely to be an unacceptable impact on health and/or the quality of life of occupants of nearby dwellings and other sensitive properties. Where necessary minerals and waste developments should include mitigation measures, such as buffer zones between the site and such properties.

Policy DC10 - Water Resources

Non-hazardous landfill developments in areas that overlie major aquifers, and Groundwater Source Protection Zones I and II, and mineral extraction or inert landfill in areas that overlie major aquifers and Groundwater Source Protection Zone I will not be permitted.

All minerals and waste developments will only be permitted if they are unlikely to have an unacceptable impact on coastal, surface or ground waters and due regard is given to water conservation and efficiency.

Policy DC12 - Restoration and After-care

Mineral extraction, landfill and other appropriate developments will not be permitted unless there is satisfactory provision for the restoration of the site, within a reasonable timescale, for an after use consistent with the general planning objectives of the area.

The restoration and after care of sites should seek to meet two or more of the following planning objectives:

a. Improving public access to the countryside, including public access for disabled people and recreation;

b. Use for management of water resources and/or flooding management;

c. The improvement of biodiversity;

d. Use as back-up grazing for the New Forest;

e. Return to agriculture, forestry or other `open' use recreational facilities.

Proposals for mineral extraction and landfill must include provision for at least five years of after-care following restoration of the site.

Restoration proposals for mineral workings in Aerodrome Safeguarding Zones should take account of the need for progressive working and restoration, to prevent open water bodies becoming bird roosts.

Policy DC13 - Waste Management and Recycling

Waste management developments (excluding landfill) will be permitted provided that the site:

a. Is identified as a site, or within an area suitable for waste management uses, in the Hampshire Waste Management Plan, or

b. Re-uses/redevelops previously developed land and/or redundant agricultural and forestry buildings (including their curtilages), or

c. Is within a planned area of large-scale development, or

d. Is on employment land, preferably co-located with complementary activities, and

e. Has good access to, the minerals and waste lorry route as shown on the Key Diagram, and where possible, the site enables the use of waterborne and rail freight, and

f. In the case of recovery and treatment sites, incoming waste shall be subject to pre-treatment, either on or off site to maximise the potential for recycling, and where technically possible, energy will be generated and used and the by-products, including heat, will be reused or recycled, and

g. In the case of sites providing public access, the site shall be accessible for use by disabled people.

Policy DC15 - Sand and Gravel

Sand and gravel extraction will be permitted, provided the site:

a. Is identified for sand and gravel extraction in the Hampshire Minerals Plan or pending its adoption, is within the Mineral Resource Area shown on the Key Diagram, or

b. The proposed development involves a small-scale extension to or deepening of an active sand and gravel extraction site, or

c. There is less than seven years of permitted reserves of sand and gravel and a need for sand and gravel which cannot reasonably be met from identified sites and locations and it can be shown that working such land would be equally acceptable to working within an identified site or location, and

d. Is not within or likely to adversely impact upon the setting of the New Forest National Park, the Proposed South Downs National Park or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and

e. The proposals include restoration opportunities for increasing biodiversity or access to public open space, or help to meet other planning objectives, and

f. Where necessary, proposals for landscaping and planting (prior to operation)are included, and

g. Is close to, and with good access to, the minerals and waste lorry route illustrated on the Key Diagram.

Policy S1 - Sustainable Design, Construction and Demolition

New built development should facilitate the efficient use of resources through:

a. Designs and layouts that allow the effective sorting, recycling and composting of waste;

b. Design principles and construction methods that minimise primary aggregate use and encourage the use of high-quality building materials made from recycled and secondary sources;

c. Construction and demolition methods that minimise waste production and re-use/recycle materials, as far as practicable on-site.

Policy S8 - Sand and Gravel

Provision will be made for the production of land-won sand and gravel at a rate of 2.63 million tonnes a year until 2020, principally from within the Mineral Resource Areas shown on the Key Diagram. To meet local needs from indigenous materials the following local apportionment will apply for the period to 2016:

North East Hampshire 0.433 mtpa

Forest (excluding the New Forest National Park) 1.163 mtpa

Downland 0.643 mtpa

South Hampshire 0.391 mtpa

The Mineral Planning Authorities will endeavour to maintain a landbank of at least seven years of planning permissions for the extraction of sand and gravel.

In the event that the South East Plan apportionment for Hampshire is modified the sand and gravel production and local apportionment will be adjusted accordingly.

HAMPSHIRE, PORTSMOUTH, SOUTHAMPTON AND NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK MINERALS PLAN DRAFT DEVELOPMENT PLAN DOCUMENT JULY 2008

Policy M1

The Minerals Planning Authorities support extraction of sand and gravel from the following areas shown on the Proposals Map:

Area 8 - Plumley Wood, Harbridge

subject to any proposal meeting the development criteria set out in Appendix 1 and other material considerations.

DRAFT SOUTH EAST PLAN MARCH 2006

Policy NRM 4: Conservation and Improvement of Biodiversity

In the development and implementation of plans and strategies, local authorities and other bodies shall avoid a net loss of biodiversity, and actively pursue opportunities to achieve a net gain across the region by:

    i. Providing the highest level of protection for nationally and internationally designated sites

    ii. Ensuring damage to county wildlife sites and locally important wildlife and geological sites is avoided wherever possible

    iii. Ensuring that unavoidable damage to wildlife interest is minimised through mitigation, that any damage is compensated for, and that such measures are monitored

    iv. Ensuring appropriate access to areas of wildlife importance, identifying areas of opportunity for biodiversity improvement and setting targets reflecting those in figure NRM2. Opportunities for biodiversity improvement, including largescale habitat restoration, enhancement and re-creation in the areas of strategic opportunity for biodiversity improvement (Map NRM4) should be pursued

    v. Influencing and applying agrienvironment schemes, forestry, flood defence, restoration of mineral extraction sites and other land management practices to deliver biodiversity targets

    vi. Maintaining and establishing accessible green networks and open green space in urban areas.

Policy NRM7: Air Quality

Local authorities and other relevant bodies should seek an improvement in air quality in their areas so that there is a significant reduction in the number of days of medium and high air pollution by 2026. Local Development Documents and development control can help to achieve improvements in local air quality through:

    i. Ensuring consistency with Air Quality Management Plans

    ii. Reducing the environmental impacts of transport and congestion management, and support the use of cleaner transport fuels

    iii. Mitigating the impact of development and reduce exposure to poor air quality through design, particularly for residential development in areas which already, or are likely to, exceed national air quality objectives

    iv. Encouraging the use of best practice during construction activities to reduce the levels of dust and other pollutants.

Policy NRM8: Noise

Measures to address and reduce noise pollution will be developed at regional and local level through means such as:

    i. Locating new residential and other sensitive development away from existing sources of significant noise or away from planned new sources of noise

    ii. Traffic management and requiring sound attenuation measures in major transport schemes

    iii. Encouraging high levels of sound-proofing and screening as part of sustainable housing design and construction.

Appendix 2:

CRITERIA

Planning Application: NF255 - 08/91952 - Land at Plumley Wood and Farm, Burnt Hill, Nea Farm, Blue Haze and Blashford Quarries, Near Ringwood

Appendix 3:

DEVELOPMENT BRIEF

Planning Application: NF255 - 08/91952 - Land at Plumley Wood and Farm, Burnt Hill, Nea Farm, Blue Haze and Blashford Quarries, Near Ringwood

1 See Annex 1 to Circular 07/99