Public meeting over 'significant' Aldermaston gravel extraction plans
Should their application be successful, Lafarge Aggregates and the Wasting Estate wish to enlarge their operation at Lower Farm, Wasing Lane, to the extent that the bridge across the River Enborne would have to be strengthened to cope with the number of HGVs crossing it each day.
Aldermaston resident Helen Jones said she felt not enough had been done to alert people to the size of the application, which would also include the construction of new buildings and a weigh bridge, a security compound and new access for the site vehicles.
“I even think the parish council were caught somewhat by surprise,” she said.
“Wasing Estate claim they have sent letters out to everyone but people are swearing they never received anything.
“People living in Aldermaston Wharf don’t seem to realise how involved they are going to be.
“They have said there will be 120 extra HGVs coming through the High Street than there are now. There is no zebra crossing in the village, it’s issues like this people need to know about.
“I think this site should be saved, it is a beautiful view but it is also an important environmental area. I am trying to alert as many people as possible.
“The council told us there was not enough time to hold a public meeting before the consultation date ends so we urged people to write their objections to West Berkshire Council and come along to the meeting.”
The Wasing Estate, with Lafarge Aggregates and Concrete UK and Marley Eternit, outlined its programme for the 70 hectare site in the autumn of 2011, however an application was not officially submitted until May and many residents complained to the parish council that the consultation period was not long enough.
The Estate said it recognised the concern and agreed to an extended period.
About 50 letters of objection have been submitted to West Berkshire Council website in response to the application and following representations from the public, Aldermaston Parish Council also objected on the grounds of: the impact of the HGV traffic, particularly on the lifting bridge at the Wharf; the adverse visual and noise impact; the cumulative impact of previous gravel operations in the parish; unproven demand and possible flooding problems.
The MP for Wokingham, John Redwood, also wrote to the council to ensure the opposition of several residents living in his ward were taken into account.
Such is the level of objection the item has been called to the council’s senior planning committee by the Aldermaston ward member Irene Neill (Con) and will be determined by voting councillors.
A public meeting to discuss the plans will be held on Tuesday, July 17, at 8pm in Aldermaston Parish Hall, The Street.