Thatcham quarry plans to face public scrutiny
Grundon Sand and Gravel to host exhibition setting out expansion
CONTROVERSIAL proposals to quarry 47 hectares of countryside south of Thatcham will go before the public later this month.
Grundon Sand and Gravel wants to hear residents’ views on its plans to quarry at Waterside Farm.
Grundon says that the plans are an extension of its current extraction works at Kennetholme Quarry, which stretches from Brimpton to Colthrop.
The company said it would be winding down operations at Kenntholme, as material is running out, adding that there is a significant shortfall of sand and gravel reserves across the district.
Residents can view the proposals at public consultation on Monday, September 26, from 2pm until 8pm, in The Claridge Suite at Thatcham Town Football Club.
Grundon senior planner, Veronique Bensadou, said: “The proposed extension to the existing Kennetholme sand and gravel quarry is identified in the current draft of the West Berkshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
“We would only work about seven acres at any one time – about four football pitches.
“This means less than 10 per cent of the site would be extracted at any one time – with most of the land remaining in agricultural and equestrian use.
“The site access would be along the eastern edge of the proposed extension, via the existing Colthrop processing facilities and Colthrop Industrial Estate, then directly on to the A4.
“We look forward to welcoming local people to our public consultation exhibition, so we can explain how these facts and figures translate into working and restoration schemes that maximise recovery of sand and gravel – at the same time as minimising environmental impact.”
The proposals are facing strong opposition from local residents, who have formed an action group Stop Thatcham Quarry.
The group argues that the proposals are part of a larger plan to extend quarrying across the district and has set out its opposition to any quarrying works at Waterside Farm.
Campaigners fear that quarrying the site would increase the flood risk to the area, as the land serves as a natural flood basin.
Concerns have also been raised about the impact on wildlife, increased pollution levels and traffic accessing the site and using roads near Thatcham station.
Grundon has already started the process to expand Kennetholme by submitting a scoping opinion to West Berkshire Council.
It is proposing to extract a million tonnes of sand and gravel from 34 hectares of the 47 hectare site – at a rate of approximately 100,000 tonnes a year.
It said that only one phase at a time would be worked – covering an area of about three hectares and lasting for about nine months – giving an operational site life of about 10 years.
The land would then be restored, which Grundon said would take two years to complete.
Grundon argued that no dumper trucks would use the public highway, so there would be no access to, or impact on, Crookham Hill or Thatcham’s level crossing.