Minerals Local Plan latest
Published 21 July 2015
KB Parish Response to the Minerals Plan
In June 2011, in response to the ‘Gravel Group’ campaign to oppose plans to extract sand and gravel at the Wychnor North, Wychnor South, Alrewas West and Bancroft Farm sites, Catherine Raines, then Deputy Chief Executive of SCC wrote to campaign organiser Anne Anderson “… it is not possible for me to say that SCC will never support planning applications to extract sand and gravel from sites west of the A38 between Alrewas and Kings Bromley … However, I can say that we do not now support planning applications from these sites and I can say that we will not include sites west of the A38 between Alrewas and Kings Bromley in the MCS currently being prepared.”
Arguments about semantics aside, SCC has gone back on this commitment, those sites are in the ‘area of search’.
The SCC policy, as put forward in the ‘New Minerals Local Plan for Staffordshire 2015 to 2030’ is to excavate sand and gravel to the east of the A38 until such time as reserves are exhausted. Kings Bromley PC notes that plans are based on an annual rate of extraction of 5mtpy whereas we believe the current rate of extraction is only 3.9 mtpy. When reserves are exhausted east of the A38 consideration will be given to sites on the west of the A38 in the ‘area of search’.
We note that the ‘Gravel Group’ campaign in 2011 estimated that there was a landbank giving 27 years extraction at current rates if extension to existing sites were to be granted east of the A38. When, at some unspecified time in the future, planning applications are made west of the A38 the Minerals Plan states that they must conform to the environmental standards outlined in Policy 4. We have doubts about the ability of SCC to enforce on quarrying companies suitable standards of restoration of sites given that the worked out Manor Park quarry is essentially derelict and is an eyesore rather than an amenity which could be enjoyed by the community.
We also note that not enough consideration has been given to recycling as a means of reduction of the need for new quarrying.
Many places within the ‘area of search’ contains areas which would clearly, according to Policy 4, be ruled out. For instance those near the Orgreave gas pipelines and those contiguous to existing housing – to name but a few. The inclusion of the area directly north of Kings Bromley is a case in point. If this area continues to be included in the area of search, houses there would be effectively blighted.
Kings Bromley Parish Council look to the County Council to reaffirm Catherine Raines’ commitment.
If, at some time in the future, sites west of the A38 have to be considered in an area of search, we wish to have it confirmed that no sites close to existing housing are considered. We therefore wish to see SCC issue a modified ‘area of search’ which removes the area contiguous to the housing on the north of Kings Bromley which would be blighted by the current proposals. It is not necessary to perform a full environmental impact analysis for the entire area – that would clearly need to take place when detailed proposals for specific sites are being considered. However, the Council should be aware of the consternation it has caused by the policy of issuing a map of the area of search which does not conform to its own stated environmental policies.