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.
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.
for more see Cheshire East planning/minutes