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'Substantial impact on Thatcham' if quarry is expanded

Councillor supports campaign group's arguments about negative impact on the town

'Substantial impact on Thatcham' if quarry is expanded

A THATCHAM councillor has said plans to quarry large areas south of the town will have a substantial impact on more than a 1,000 properties.

As revealed in the Newbury Weekly News, Waterside Farm, south of the train station and north of Thatcham Town Football Club, appeared in West Berkshire Council’s Minerals and Waste Site’s consultation, which closed last week. 

Waste and extraction firm Grundon is promoting the site as an extension to its current operations at Kennetholme Farm Quarry.

Kennetholme has been in use since 2008 and is expected to run out of reserves within two years.

Residents fear that 47 hectares of south Thatcham countryside would be swallowed up if the site is approved.

Campaign group No Thatcham Quarry has been set up to fight the proposal, which it says would be devastating to the environment, recreational areas and eco-systems around the town.

Siding with residents, town and district councillor Rob Denton-Powell (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) has submitted his concerns to West Berkshire Council.

He said that the site’s selection would have a substantial impact on more than 1,000 properties, with additional vehicle movements adding to “an already stressed road infrastructure”. 

Grundon said that 66 vehicle movements are expected at the site each day.

Mr Denton-Powell said that residents would want guarantees over the impact on local roads.

He also said that the impact on public rights of way also needed to be addressed, stressing the importance for Crookham Park residents owing to a reduced bus service because of cuts.

He also wanted assurances that children walking to school would not be subject to dangerous conditions.

Grundon said that the previously-used pockets at Kennetholme would be filled with inert waste, leading to concerns over flooding and landfill.

“Given the site is a valuable rural site used by hundreds, if not thousands, of residents, there is significant concern that the site could be converted to landfill,” Mr Denton-Powell said. 

Residents have highlighted that Waterside Farm serves as a natural flood defence for businesses and homes, particularly noticed during the winter floods of 2014/15.

Mr Denton-Powell said that any quarrying would compromise the farm’s ability to absorb water.

“Of special concern is the comments by Grundon that gravel will be replaced by inert material,” he said.

“This is too ambiguous to derive any confidence that the site will be returned to a state that will retain the same properties as today.”

Grundon said that the proposed extension would release one million tonnes of sand and gravel to be worked in 14 phases over 10 years.

These would be worked one phase at a time, covering an area of three hectares, with each phase lasting about nine months.

Grundon estates director Andrew Short said: “From working sand and gravel in the Kennet Valley for so long, our sand and gravel team already has a comprehensive understanding of the local hydrogeology and other environmental factors.”

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Article comments

  • Fjortoft

    17/08/2016 - 21:09

    The only amicable outcome would be for the site to be refused permission. There are plenty of other alternative sites that do not impact such a large amount of people and destroy an area of natural beauty. It's a very large and actually mostly directly east of the football club but also to the south.

    Reply

    • pops50

      17/08/2016 - 23:11

      Please explain what you mean by "do not impact such a large amount of people "

      Reply

      • Fjortoft

        18/08/2016 - 20:08

        If you look at the other sites they aren't right next to large towns and they wouldn't have as much of an impact as this site. This could cause flooding in Thatcham and other areas further along the Kennett, dust, noise and pollution, as well as damage to the roads. Additionally, tte footpaths that run through this site are the only good footpaths for runners in the Thatcham area. I use them almost every day and they'd be absolutely ruined by a quarry.

        Reply

        • pops50

          19/08/2016 - 21:09

          This sounds like nimbyism . why would it cause flooding? Less noise and pollution than that generated by the large drinks distribution complex that works 24 hours regarding footpaths it is up to the Town and District councils to protect these we need minerals to build houses schools hospitals and our infrastructure lets work with the applicant not against him

          Reply

        • Fjortoft

          19/08/2016 - 22:10

          You realise the site is on a floodplain? The entire site was under several feet of water just a couple of years ago and it floods every time there's a period of heavy rain. Gravel is very good at holding water and there's absolutely no doubt that quarrying it will increase the risk of the Kennet flooding and put Thatcham at risk because it will no longer be able to hold such a huge amount of water and that would be incredibly foolish when flooding is becoming more and more common. How do you know the drinks distributor is noiser or more polluting? 66 lorries a day is going to cause a huge amount of pollution before you even consider the quarrying machinery. Kennetholme is going to close either way so these are 66 more than there would be if the site doesn't go ahead. It's a very tranquil area and there's nowhere else like it around Thatcham. You can't protect the footpaths and build the quarry - look at the map, the footpaths would be surrounded by the quarry in every direction,

          Reply

  • pops50

    17/08/2016 - 16:04

    The location in this report is incorrect also no planning application submitted only an environmental impact assessment scoping report has been submitted to WBDC for land at Chamberhouse farm (South of Thatcham Town Football Ground, usual scaremongering comes to mind why not work with the applicant and council to seek an amicable outcome, also it has been stated that 66 lorry movements per day is anticipated but does not say how many there are at present from the existing quarry, poor reporting by NWN not enough questions asked

    Reply

  • NewburyLad

    17/08/2016 - 12:12

    There's a railway line close by, run a siding from it, across the canal and legally enforce that all stone is removed by a couple of stone trains a day which will easily replace the 66 or so daily lorry movements.

    Reply

    • Sausages

      17/08/2016 - 18:06

      I think you may a very good suggestion. Sadly, I doubt there is spare capacity on the line to enable freight trains to be used. i also doubt that Grundon or Network Rail would be prepared to finance the cost of any track that was needed. I also expect any spare capacity to be allocated to the running of passengers service to attempt to reduce morning/evening overcrowding.

      Reply

      • NewburyLad

        18/08/2016 - 01:01

        Plenty of spare capacity - the train could depart at around 9pm when our train service on the Kennet Valley line becomes one of the crappiest service around the Thames Valley/Home counties area.

        Reply

    • SimonKirby

      SimonKirby

      17/08/2016 - 15:03

      Bridging the canal with a rail bridge would be a challenge, but bringing the aggregate over the canal on a conveyor to load waiting wagons should work.

      Reply

      • MrGizmo

        22/08/2016 - 11:11

        Stones falling on boaters heads, that'll go down well.

        Reply

  • CEONWN

    17/08/2016 - 08:08

    Not ALL residents object!

    Reply

    • Sausages

      17/08/2016 - 18:06

      Hoping to flog some advertising space to Grundon by any chance?

      Reply

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