Councillors delay Calne quarry plan verdict
5:00pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in Latest News
COUNCILLORS have deferred a decision to extend the operational life of a concrete products factory on Sandpit Road, Calne, after a lengthy discussion with planning officers.
The factory, owned by Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, was mothballed in 2009 and has not been used since, although the company has permission to operate there until February 2014.
Plans to extend production until November 2022 have proved controversial, with residents at the new Steeple Chase homes development worried about traffic, noise and dust.
The application was withdrawn temporarily in April so a transport survey could be carried out.
The survey estimated that a worst case scenario would see 105 heavy goods vehicles travelling back and forth between 7am and 7pm, with some lorries travelling along Abberd Land and Sandpit Road outside these hours.
Local resident Richard Mason joined protesters outside Wiltshire Council’s offices in Monkton Park and spoke to councillors at a strategic planning meeting yesterday.
He said: “Sandpit Road goes over a hill and lorries carrying tonnes of equipment won’t traverse that easily, which will mean low gears, lots of revving and vibrations.
“Concrete is fine if it’s wet, but before you add water the cement dust itself is extremely fine, finer than talcum power and the slightest movement puts it into the air very easily.
“This factory is going to annoy everyone in the area.”
A motion to refuse planning permission at the meeting was defeated and instead the application will be discussed for a second time at a forthcoming strategic planning committee, meeting either on September 25 or October 23.
Councillors expressed some confusion after planning officers told them they could not impose conditions on the application relating to work hours and factory standards.
They have asked the officers to mediate with Aggregate Industries before they vote again.
Coun Tony Trotman said: “We should have conditions set by officers on a new application and this is a new application. We want to protect the current residents and also the residents that will be there.”
Aggregate Industries submitted the application to extend production after businesswoman Julie Musk moved into her house on Hasting Drive last year, and she has protested against it.
Speaking after the meeting, she said: “The responsibility seems to fall on us to prove that it will have a negative impact, rather than Calne Aggregates to prove that it won’t, and that’s been the emphasis.
“I’m also disappointed that people said we shouldn’t have bought our houses if we were concerned about the quarry. Who would have spent the money we did if this was a likely plan? This is not just about people living in Sandpit Road. This is about the whole of the town, do people realise how this will affect everyone not just us?”
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