I’ve just been informed that the meeting of Cheshire West & Chester council for Sibelco’s application is now NOT going ahead tomorrow, Thursday, apparently due to some information only just becoming available.
New date as yet unknown but for now the meeting planned for tomorrow 21st June is postponed!
Plans by Sibelco to extract 3.3 million tons of industrial sand from a site near Goostrey have been recommended for approval, despite the project receiving nearly 800 letters of objection.
Location of sand quarry
The 180-acre site is across two parcels of land either side of New Platt Lane, with the council considering the application for an 81-acre portion of the wider development. The remainder of the site falls within the boundaries of Cheshire East Council, which earlier this year signalled its intention to allow the project to go ahead.
The sand is proposed to be extracted by dredging to a depth of 4.5m on the site and would involve sand and other material being extracted via a small boat and then pumped through a pipeline to a processing plant north of New Platt Lane.
The extraction would take place over 12 phases, with each phase operating for approximately one year. The 16.4m high processing plant would use site pumped water to wash the sand and remove small amounts of clay and silt.
The site is expected to handle around 130 truck journeys each day, and Sibelco is proposing to improve New Platt Lane from the junction with the A50 to its new plant site entrance. Much of the sand that is extracted will replace demand from the company’s Dingle Bank Quarry on Holmes Chapel Road, Macclesfield, which is due to be decomissioned by 2020.
Planners have recommended the project for approval despite it receiving 797 objections out of a total of 1,027 letters and representations. Objections included concerns over loss of local wildlife, impact on trees and watercourses.
Sibelco said the site would be restored to a lake, fields, hedgerows and woodland once the extraction was complete.
Cheshire West & Chester’s planning committee will meet on 21 June.
Plans for the Sibelco sand quarry on land at Rudheath Lodge, New Platt Lane were approved today by Cheshire East’s strategic planning board. Cheshire West & Chester meet 21st June to discuss the application. (link: 17/3605W )
The site in Cranage and Allostock is 0.6km from the centre of Goostrey and residents had previously voiced concerns over air quality from resulting dust from the silica sand.
Stephen Topping, Tweeting for Knutsford Guardian:
Cllr Lesley Smetham, Con, says she has two quarries in her ward with no issues. “There is no reason to think that this site would be different.” Cllr Hilda Gaddum, Con, disagrees based on loss of agricultural land and impact on A50
Michael Hurley, from Sibelco, says ‘sand of the quality of [Rudheath Lodge Farm] is rare’. Says a local liaison group would be set up to meet residents in future.
Objector Gareth Woods calls on the board to refuse the #Sibelco application as he claims it is a departure from the local plan, will impact on highways, have an adverse impact on residents’ amenity, and damage the character of the area.
Cllr Andrew Kolker is applauded by observing residents after urging the board to defer the Sibelco decision based on a ‘gargantuan’ effect on highways. Says the amount of lorry movements is equivalent to lorries lined up from Macclesfield to the Kremlin, and back again.
The proposed sand quarry (link: 17/3605W ) by Sibelco UK on land at Rudheath Lodge, New Platt Lane, Cranage and Allostock CW4 8HJ is being recommended for approval on 4th April 2018 at the Strategic Planning Board (SPB) when they meet at 10.30 in the Capesthorne Room at Macclesfield Town Hall. The site is 0.6km from the centre of Goostrey and residents have voiced concerns over air quality from resulting dust from the silica sand.
The application is for ‘silica sand extraction and associated development, mineral extraction by dredging, progressive restoration, mineral processing and despatch.’
Jodrell Bank Observatory has put forward a request for firm conditions. Cheshire East planners’ summary to the SPB states:
There is a presumption in the NPPF in favour of the sustainable development unless there are any adverse impacts that significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.
Silica Sand is a nationally important strategic resource, providing feedstock for the glass, ceramics, horticulture and casting industries, and a host of other industrial uses. Minerals can only be worked where they occur and the distribution of silica sand across the UK is unevenly distributed and is limited to a small number of locations and Cheshire East contains important deposits east of the M6 motorway.
There is an ongoing need for silica sand to supply demand, and of the four operational silica sand sites in Cheshire East, two of these are close to being worked out. This proposal is to extract 3.3 million tonnes of silica sand over a 12 year period in an area which has historically hosted silica sand workings, and within a site which in part is allocated for sand and gravel extraction. Approximately 75% of this is suitable for high quality silica sand industrial uses, and 25% would be suitable for sales into aggregate construction sand markets.
Minerals specific local development plan policy for Cheshire East includes saved policies of the Cheshire Replacement Minerals Local Plan 1999, and includes policies for preferred areas for new mineral extraction. New permissions have already been granted within most of the preferred areas, and the current situation is that further permitted reserves are required to be brought forward. There is a requirement to provide at least a 15 year supply of silica sand on sites where significant new capital is required. In addition, the Cheshire East Council Local Aggregates Assessment does not meet the maintenance of at least 7 years sand and gravel landbank required by the NPPF. This proposal would therefore contribute towards the maintenance of at least 7 year supply of sand and gravel used for aggregates.
This should be balanced against any potential harm to the loss of Grade 2 and 3a agricultural land, the impact on hydrology and hydrogeology (the water table), residential amenity; particularly in terms of noise and nuisance dust impacts to sensitive receptors; along with the increase in vehicle movements in the area, the impact on the highway network and air quality and ecology and habitats.
The benefits arising from the proposal in terms of the national need for silica sand are considered sufficient to outweigh any harm caused by the scheme, and the potential harm to residential amenity and the environment can be mitigated by a range of planning conditions and through the controls of other environmental legislation.
On the basis of the above, it is considered that the adverse effects of the scheme are significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the long term social and economic planning benefits, along-side long term benefits to nature conservation and return to agriculture. As such, the scheme is considered to accord with policies of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy 2017 and the saved policies of the Cheshire Replacement Minerals Local Plan and the Congleton Borough Local Plan First Review, and the approach of the NPPF.
A legal agreement to be entered in to by the applicant is requested by Jodrell Bank with the purpose of providing compliance with permissible radio interference levels to safeguard the efficient operation of the Radio Telescope.
Subject to the Secretary of State deciding not to ‘call-in’ the application under the Departure from the Development Plan procedures:
Approve subject to conditions and legal agreement.
Local campaigners against the proposal sited between New Platt Lane and Goostrey Lane have been urging residents to write to object to both Cheshire East (by 24th Aug) and Cheshire West (by 23rd Aug) as the area crosses both councils.
Sibelco UK still plan to submit their quarry application, but now to both Cheshire East and Cheshire West councils.
In the meantime they have withdrawn their planning application 16/4724W to quarry silica sand at Rudheath Lodge Farm off New Platt Lane just outside Goostrey. However the new application for a sand quarry, across Cheshire East and CWAC farmland in Cranage and Allostock parishes, will essentially be the same as their initial scheme.
Sibelco spokesman Nigel Canham said: “In order to allow our proposals to be assessed in the appropriate manner we have now withdrawn our original planning application and are preparing a revised submission for both CEC and CWAC.”
Residents living near the site raised an objections group ‘ Residents against Quarrying ‘ but it is not yet known if objections will be carried over to the new application.