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Strong opposition to Crookham quarry site

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Councillors object to Waterside Farm being listed as a preferred site

THATCHAM Town Council has said it is vehemently opposed to extracting 200,000 tonnes of sand and gravel from Crookham’s countryside.

Councillors were responding to a consultation which has listed land at Waterside Farm as a preferred site for mineral extraction in the district.

Waterside would serve as an extension to Grundon’s quarrying operations at Kennetholme Farm, which stretches from Midgham to Colthrop.

The site is one of seven identified in West Berkshire Council’s Minerals and Waste location plan, which seeks to guide the development of minerals and waste sites.

A public consultation on the document runs until June 30 and Thatcham Town Council had its say at a meeting on Monday.

Town and district councillor Rob Denton-Powell (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) said that West Berkshire Council needed to look elsewhere.

He said: “I know a number of people are vehemently opposed to this proposal.

“The main thrust of concern is loss of land for dog walking and leisure activities.

“The other major concern that will affect all of us is potential for flooding.”

Mr Denton-Powell said that he was “utterly unconvinced” by Grundon’s response to questions about flooding at a public exhibition last year.

“I also believe it would be a flood risk affecting other parishes along the River Kennet,” he said.

“I can’t support it and I won’t support it and I vehemently oppose this proposal and I strongly encourage the council to look elsewhere.”

Sheila Ellison (Con, Thatcham North) said that only a small section of the total site was being looked at.

However, she added: “It would be very disruptive to the football club and it’s close to the road. It’s a very nice part of the world and it’s a shame to dig it up.”

But Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham West) disagreed with the claim that recreation would be affected should the land be dug up, saying that he walked there regularly.

Grundon previously said that it had a comprehensive understanding of the local hydrogeology and other environmental factors because of its previous work in the area.

The extraction would take place within five years and access to the site would be via the Colthrop processing plant.

West Berkshire Council’s location plan said that landscape mitigation measures would be required, including exclusion of the most sensitive part of the site from the developable area.

However, it added that a landscape and visual impact assessment may demonstrate that more of the site is suitable for development.

The proximity of the location to the River Kennet Site of Special Scientific Interest would also need to be considered, along with a hydrological assessment and mitigation measures.

Finally, the council said that the right of way running through the site would need to be retained or diverted for the duration of the works and later restored.

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