Calne concrete factory gets green light to reopen

Permission to re-open a factory at Sands Farm Quarry, in Sandpit Road, Calne, has been given after a hard-fought battle against the application from residents at the new Steeple Chase development.

The factory, owned by Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, which makes concrete goods, was mothballed in 2009 because of the economic downturn and permission to run the factory was due to run out next month.

Plans to extend production until November 2022 dismayed residents at the new development, who bought their houses on the belief that the factory would not re-open, and expressed their concerns about traffic, noise and dust.

The application went before Wiltshire Council last September, but it was deferred to give planning officers time to mediate with Aggregate Industries over planning conditions.

Yesterday Wiltshire councillors approved new conditions, which mean lorries can only enter or leave the site between 6am and 6pm Monday to Friday and between 6am and 1pm on Saturday.

Lorries are also banned from entering and leaving the site on Sundays and on public holidays. All mechanical equipment on site will also have to be fitted with silencers.

There are now 500 people living on the Steeple Chase development at Sandpit Road and permission has been granted for the Hills Group to build 200 more houses between Oxford Road and Sandpit Lane.

Luisa Crook, from the Sandpit Road Residents’ Association, said she hoped the conditions would alleviate people’s concerns.

She said: “I would like to emphasise that we don’t wish to stifle the business opportunities in Calne, however, we don’t believe that this development can be at the expense of residents who have invested in the area. We feel that it’s essential and not unreasonable to ask for regular noise monitoring.”

Some councillors also tried to restrict factory operating hours, so that the factory could not operate 24 hours a day, but others said this would make the factory into an unviable business.

John Penny, representing Calne Aggregates, said: “As noted from the previous time this application was before you, there were a number of issued raised, which we believe have adequately dealt with.

“We believe that the statement we provided gives clear evidence that any potential environmental issues were considered back in 2008 and we believe this report remains relevant today. The ability to produce concrete products in the factory 24 hours a day is essential for the viability of the factory but we would be prepared to accept the restrictions on vehicle movements.”

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