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County set to keep farm out of gravel extraction plan
11:11am Friday 7th September 2012 in Romsey
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect a site from gravel extraction may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
After a four-year battle to keep a farm site at Shootash out of Hampshire County Council’s sand and gravel extraction plans, villagers at Awbridge and Shootash feared it might still be included following representations at a recent public inquiry.
In 2008, Stanbridge Ranvilles Farm, in Old Salisbury Lane, had been earmarked for Hampshire County Council’s waste and minerals plan, but it was later removed.
However, Raymond Brown Minerals and Recycling Ltd made an objection to the soundness of the plan at an inquiry, held by a government appointed planning inspector in June and called for the farm site to be back on the list.
Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, also made representation on behalf of Awbridge Parish Council in opposition.
Raymond Brown Minerals and Recycling Ltd already has permission to open a new sand and gravel pit in the nearby Roke Manor Farm area and objectors said one more pit was enough.
Protesters had expressed concern about the environmental impact, smell, noise, dust and lorry movements which could be caused by a gravel pit.
Paul Waring, from Shootash Against Gravel Extraction (SAGE), which pushed for the withdrawal of Ranvilles, said the area was already blighted by the former gravel extraction site, now a landfill site, at Squabb Wood and another site would “decimate the countryside”.
The inspector asked the county council to review the Ranvilles site’s suitability and after a second look the authority is still against its inclusion in the plan.
An HCC spokeswoman said: “The conclusion remains the same - the Stanbridge Ranvilles extension to Roke Manor Quarry is not allocated and therefore the site has not been included in the draft plan.”
Roy Perry, HCC member for Romsey Extra, said this was good news for local residents opposed to the extension of the Roke Manor site.
He added: “I very much hope that position will be sustained by the HCC cabinet and the full council.
“This part of Romsey Extra has suffered long term cumulative impact - especially when one considers the waste infill site at Squabb Wood.”
He added that there was also no proposal to identify land at Halterworth for mineral extraction, which he said would be seen as good news for residents on that side of Romsey.
The outcome of the public hearings and the potential changes to be made will be reported to the HCC cabinet at an extraordinary meeting on September 10.