Somerset County Council

Regulation Committee – 31/07/2007

Corporate Director : Sonia Davidson-Grant

Report by the Head of Environmental Regeneration and Regulation: Paula Hewitt

D

 

 

Application Number:

07/01623/CPO

Date Registered:

13/04/2007

Parish:

Pitcombe & Shepton Montague

District:

South Somerset

Member Division:

Wincanton and Bruton

Local Member:

Cllr Justin Robinson

Case Officer:

Joanne Jones

Contact Details:

jjones@somerset.gov.uk

(01823) 356024

 

Description of Application:

Proposed 0.3ha extension to allow further building stone extraction and new access road, at hadspen quarry, lime kiln lane, nr castle cary

Grid Reference:

365566-131484

Applicant:

Mr R Comer

Location:

Hadspen Quarry is situated approximately 1 mile to the south east of Castle Cary, just off the A359.

 

 

1.

Summary of Key Issues and Recommendation(s)

1.1

  • Whether the application accords with the development plan
  • Sustainable supply of building stone
  • Impact of the proposed new access road on highway safety
  • Whether the proposed development will cause additional flooding in the Hadspen Valley
  • Impact on residential amenities
  • Effect on landscape character
  • Impact on local ecology

 

Recommendation: To GRANT planning permission subject to the imposition by the Head of Environmental Regeneration and Regulation of appropriate conditions.

 

 

 

2.

Description of the Site

2.1

Hadspen Quarry (also known as Castle Cary Quarry in the Minerals Local Plan and locally as Grove Farm Quarry) is an active building stone quarry located approximately 1 km south of Hadspen village centre.  The landscape around the quarry is mainly agricultural interspersed with small areas of woodland.  The southern boundary of the site backs on to the A359 separated by a line of mature deciduous trees.  To the east of the site there is a disused quarry and to the north, neighbouring agricultural fields.  The existing quarrying operation lies to the west of the application area.

 

The nearest residential property lies approximately 500 metres to the north at a level considerably lower than that of the quarry, and is well screened both visually and acoustically from the quarry by hedgebanks and the hillside.

 

There are no Public Rights of Way over or directly adjoining the application site.

 

The site does not lie within any landscape designation, but is located in the Yeovil Scarplands landscape character area.

 

A County Wildlife site is located to the north-east of the application site, and is designated for its’ vascular plant communities.

 

A Regionally Important Geological site (RIGs) adjoins the eastern boundary of the site, designated for being a good example of an Oolithic Limestone Quarry.

 

 

3.

Site History

3.1

Planning permission was first granted at Hadspen Quarry in 1986 (permission 861433 refers).  A further permission was granted in 1996 to extend the life of the quarry until 2006 (permission 96/02/208/CPO refers).

 

In 2005 planning permission was granted to extend the quarry by 0.3 ha in an easterly direction, and for the retention of the existing quarry infrastructure until 2028 (permission 04/03514/CPO refers).

 

The Committee should note that an application is currently being determined by South Somerset District Council for a residential unit within the quarry complex for the quarry manager.

 

 

4.

The Proposal

4.1

This application is to extend the existing operational quarry by 0.3 ha to enable working from different faces within the quarry at any one time.  A further part of this application is to provide a new access onto Lime Kiln Lane, closer to its junction with the A359.  The existing access will be stopped up and a hedgebank created.

 

The application area will be progressed in two phases.  Phase 1 will be progressively worked prior to the phase 2 area being stripped of top and sub soil. 

 

All topsoil and overburden will remain on site to create new screening bunds and finish the existing bunds.  Excess material will be used for backfilling.

 

The stone will be extracted using an excavator without the need for drilling or blasting.  The current depth of working at the quarry is 7.5 metres below ground level, which includes the removal of 0.3 metres of topsoil, 2.2 metres of Doulting stone and 5.5 metres of Hadspen stone.

 

Following extraction the stone will be stored to dry out prior to being guillotined and dressed into suitable products.

 

The existing quarry extracts approximately 1,000 tonnes of stone per year, below the planning permission limit of 2,500 tonnes per year, and the applicant intends to maintain this production limit.  However to meet any fluctuation in demand and to be able to maintain a commercial flexibility in the event that a large quantity of stone is required for a specific project, the applicant has requested that the 2,500 tonnes per annum limit should be maintained.

 

There is approximately 38,000 tonnes of Hadspen stone reserves remaining on site for extraction over the next 20 years and the extension area will further provide approximately 32,000 tonnes of saleable Hadspen Stone.

 

The planning application states that working within the current extraction thresholds, the existing quarry and extension area would provide a minimum 21 years of operational life.

 

During the quarrying operations some of the void will be progressively backfilled with overburden (where this will not sterilise future stone extraction).  On the completion of quarrying activities the applicant intends to restore the site to low input agriculture and/or nature conservation to include natural regeneration and a pond.  Final restoration will not require the importation of any waste material.

 

The proposal does not constitute development of a description mentioned in Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (EIA) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999, but is of a description para.2(a) (“Quarries, open-cast mining and peat extraction”) mentioned in Schedule 2.  In order to determine whether or not the proposal is likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location and is therefore EIA development requiring the submission of an environmental statement, a screening opinion has been adopted.  That opinion concludes that having regard to the relevant criteria set out in Schedule 3 to the Regulations, the scale and location of the proposal are such that it is not EIA development.

 

5.

Consultation Responses Received

 

5.1

South Somerset District Council – Recommend approval, but suggest that the following issues / conditions are considered:  archaeology, landscaping, mitigation measures, remedial works, restoration, and replacement trees.

 

5.2

Pitcombe Parish Council – Raises the following concerns:

 

  • Since the last extension, noise levels during sawing operations, are at times unacceptable.  Concern is felt that a further extension will increase activity and compound the problem.
  • Visual impact – the felling of trees and formation of a new access will make the quarry more visible.
  • With the formation of a new access road at Grove Farm Quarry there is a concern regarding increased vehicular activity.

 

5.3

Natural England – Wishes to make no comment on this application.

 

Environment Agency – No objections in principle but would recommend conditions on the prevention of water pollution

Highways Authority – Due to this application being an extension to an existing business, that there have not been any traffic related accidents at the entrance or the approach roads to the site, and that the proposed new access can only benefit this application, the Highways Authority does not wish to raise any objections.  However conditions relating to highway safety should be added to any grant of planning permission.

 

5.4

CPRE – Raises concerns due to; no proof of the quality of stone, ecological damage, need and viability.

 

5.5

One letter of support has been received stating the operator is a courteous and thoughtful neighbour.

 

Three letters of objection (two from the same local resident) have been received citing loss of amenity, traffic danger, visual impact, potential flooding, and impact on the natural environment.

 

Two additional letters of support for this application were also received via the District Council which state that noise from the site is not an issue and that there is an urgent need to improve the access to the site in terms of highway safety.

 

 

6.

Comments of the Head of Environmental Regeneration and Regulation

 

6.1

The key issues for Members to consider when determining this application are :-

 

  • Whether the application accords with the development plan
  • Sustainable supply of building stone
  • Impact of the proposed new access road on highway safety
  • Whether the proposed development will cause additional flooding in the Hadspen Valley
  • Impact on residential amenities
  • Effect on landscape character
  • Impact on local ecology

 

Regard is to be had to the development plan for the purpose of this determination, which must be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

 

In this case the development plan consists of Regional Planning Guidance 10, the Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Review 1991-2011, adopted April 2000 (the “SP Review”), the South Somerset District Local Plan, adopted April 2006 (the “LP”) and the Somerset Minerals Local Plan, adopted April 2004 (the “MLP”).  The Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Alteration 1991-2011 (the “Structure Plan Alteration”), deposit draft dated June 2004 and the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West are also a material consideration.  

 

6.2

Accordance with the development plan and emerging policy and guidance

 

Chapter 8 of the MLP (Building Stone Extraction) encourages the use of local stone in order to maintain the distinctive setting of the County.  It also states that building stone quarries have little difficulty in meeting the criteria for sustainable mineral development because of their small scale and methods of working.  However MLP Policy M46 sets out specific criteria for building stone quarry extensions to be acceptable:

 

·         There will be no significant harm to the environment or local communities;

·         The MPA is satisfied that the stone is required to maintain or enhance the character of the local area or for restoration and conservation projects;

·         And the nature, scale and duration of the operations are appropriate to the character of the local area.

 

SP Policy 32 (Extraction Criteria) is also relevant in that it provides a similar criterion based approach for building stone extraction.  Importantly it requires MPA’s (Mineral Planning Authorities) to take into account what planning controls should be required to minimise adverse environmental impacts.  It is considered necessary, if this planning application is approved, that appropriate planning conditions are used to ensure that the quarry extension is: developed and restored in accordance with the submitted details; to protect residential amenities; minimise the risk of water pollution; and to ensure highway safety.  This will then make the application acceptable in terms of development plan policy.

 

 

6.3

Sustainable supply of building stone to ensure the character of Somerset’s built environment is retained

 

Somerset is fortunate in having a range of good quality building stones and therefore much of the built historic fabric of Somerset is constructed entirely of local stone.  The use of local stone is implicitly encouraged by the South Somerset Local Plan Policy ST6 (The Quality of Development) in order to preserve local character and distinctiveness.  Hadspen Stone has been used as a building material for centuries, visible in many of the towns and villages in and around Castle Cary and has also been used for the renovation of St Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Tor.

 

Hadspen Quarry is currently the only surviving building stone quarry of its geological type.  Extensions to quarries like Hadspen are supported by Mineral Policy Statement 1:  Planning and Minerals, where in Annex 3 it states that Mineral Planning Authorities should “recognise the important role that small quarries can play in providing historically authentic building materials in the conservation and repair of historic and cultural buildings and structures.”

 

This application area is small scale and does not significantly contribute or affect the mineral landbank.  The applicant has submitted, with the application, a map showing the location of his existing customer base, which stretches from Frome in the north to Dorchester in the south.  It is therefore evident that there is a strong need for the material to fulfil local building demands.

 

The CPRE has raised concerns on the viability of the stone at Hadspen, stating a previous failed extraction.  I understand that this comment relates to the 50% of the extracted stone being un-saleable because of the variable quality of the Hadspen Stone beds.  Onsite investigations have shown that the Hadspen Stone horizon extends into the application site and by opening up the extension area the operator will be able to work a number of faces at one time giving the operator the flexibility to select the appropriate quality of stone for the market.  However I note the CPRE’s concern regarding the volume of overburden and un-saleable material, but this is an issue at the majority of building stone quarries and not unique to Hadspen.

 

Traditionally a 15-year landbank has been deemed appropriate for mineral reserves, however in order to ensure a consistent supply of stone (in terms of quality) it is necessary to extend the quarry to facilitate working multiple quarry faces. 

 

For the reasons outlined above and other material considerations outlined in this report I consider that the proposal is in accordance with SP Policies STR 1 (Sustainable Development), STR 6 (Development Outside Towns, Rural Centres and Villages) and MLP Policy M46 (Building Stone Extraction) which seek to limit development to that which does not significantly harm the local environment, has a proven economic need in that specific location and is required to maintain or enhance the character of the local area.

 

6.4

Highway Safety

 

Both letters of objection from local residents have raised concerns regarding the proposed new quarry access.  The existing quarry access exits on to a narrow stretch of Lime Kiln Lane, with poor visibility to the north and an inadequate turning circle for HGV's.  The applicant has therefore proposed, after discussions with the Highways Authority, to relocate the access towards the junction with the A359, where Lime Kiln Lane widens and there is improved visibility to the north.  The relocated access will also provide an improved turning circle for HGV’s within the quarry complex.

 

The Highways Authority has confirmed that the new access will provide improved visibility and subject to planning conditions it will not have an adverse effect on highway safety.

 

The Practice guide accompanying Mineral Planning Statement 1 affirms that Mineral Planning Authorities (MPA’s) should be seeking to secure improvements to poor quarry accesses where necessary, and this is also implied in MLP Policy M23 (Traffic) that applicants should provide new accesses to deal with the level of expected traffic.

 

With these factors in mind I consider that the new quarry access is required to improve visibility for emerging quarry traffic and is therefore in accordance with the development plan.

 

6.5

Flood Risk

 

One local resident, due to historic flooding episodes in the Hadspen Valley, has raised concerns over the potential for increased flooding from this development. 

 

The MPA recognises the importance of taking flood risk into account at all stages of the planning process as stated in PPS 25 (Development and Flood risk).  In accordance with PPS 25 the MPA has consulted the Environment Agency who have confirmed that due to the location of the development, the permeability of the stone within the quarry and the positioning of the road access that this proposal will not result in an increased flood risk.

 

The MPA has also received advice from WS Atkins in terms of highway maintenance and highway water run-off.  This confirmed that due to the development being lower than the adjoining road that there would not be an increased risk of accelerated run-off causing flooding problems.

 

SP Policy 60 (Floodplain Protection) and MLP Policy M14 (Water Environment) are also relevant as they state that development will only be permitted where the proposal will not increase the risk of flooding in the vicinity of the site, in the water catchment within which the site lies or elsewhere.  The hydrological report submitted by the applicant concludes that the development will not cause a significant risk to ground or surface water and this is confirmed by the Environment Agency.

 

Therefore taking into account the advice from statutory consultees the development is in accordance with the development plan, as the proposed development will not present an increased risk of flooding.

 

6.6

Impact on Residential Amenities

 

The Parish Council has raised concerns regarding noise from the stone cutting operations, however two letters of support from local residents contradict this.

 

The County Council’s Acoustic Advisor has confirmed that as the working methods and hours of operations will not change as a result of this application, there should not be any significant noise issues.  Further to this the provision of a new saw shed (granted through permitted development rights) and the construction of screening bunds would further reduce any noise impact from the extension area.

 

The existing planning permission for this site does not contain any planning conditions to limit noise emanating from this site, and it is considered that existing screening bunds and landscaping effectively reduce noise from the extraction and processing operations.

 

I therefore consider that the proposal conforms to MLP Policy M25 (Noise) and LP Policy EP2 (Pollution and Noise), which seek to control noise from mineral developments and protect the amenity of noise sensitive developments.  However conditions relating to hours of operation and use of silencers on machinery and vehicles will be applied to further protect residential amenities.

 

6.7

Landscape Character

 

The MLP states that Somerset has a wide variety of landscape areas and features that are essential to the character of the County and should be safeguarded.  As described in section 2.1 above, Hadspen Quarry is well screened by landscaping required under the existing planning permission e.g. Screening bunds, and tree / hedgerow planting.  However even with the existing screening the proposed access will open up new views into the quarry, as some of the scrub and mature ash and a cherry trees will have to be removed.

 

The Parish Council, CPRE and local residents in their letters of objection have raised the issue of increased visibility into the quarry because of the new access. 

 

The applicant has provided with the planning application, an extensive landscape and visual impact assessment of the proposal and its’ conclusions concur with those of the Somerset County Council’s Landscape Advisor in that there is no significant detriment to landscape character from this proposal, and that visual intrusion can be mitigated by suitable planning conditions.  However in the light of the objections received, the applicant has stated his willingness to limit the number of mature trees to be removed to two, plant more trees along the proposed access and provide suitable under-story planting to further screen the site from passing vehicles.

 

Therefore with the imposition of suitable planning conditions I consider this proposal to be in accordance with the development plan, and in particular MLP Policy M2 (Landscape) and LP Policy EC3 (Landscape Character) since the visual amenity of the surrounding landscape will not be significantly affected.

 

6.8

Ecology

 

The Structure Plan states that it is of vital importance to the proper planning of Somerset that the value of its biodiversity is recognised, protected and enhanced and this is reflected in SP Policy 1 (Nature Conservation).  The applicant has submitted with the planning application an ecological assessment.  This concludes that as the proposed extension area consists of semi improved rank agricultural grassland and that the new access contains species poor scrub the development would have little ecological impact.  Also the proposed restoration and hedgerow planting has the potential to increase the biodiversity of the site.

 

Objectors have raised the impact of the development on the local ecology, particularly the loss of a wild cherry (Prunus Avium) and scrub at the proposed new access.  However Somerset County Council’s Ecologist has not raised any objections to the development, subject to appropriate planning conditions to ensure that trees remaining on site are protected and that detailed restoration proposals, particularly on the proposed pond are submitted in due course.

 

Further to the local concern about the loss of the wild cherry the applicant has confirmed that the tree in question will not need to be felled in creating the new access.

 

To the north and east of the application site is a County Wildlife Site (Quarry Meadow), and to the east a Regionally Important Geological site (RIGs).  I am satisfied that from the information provided by Consultees and that contained within the planning application, that this proposal will not detrimentally effect the County Wildlife site or RIGs.  In due course the proposed restoration scheme and the applicant’s desire to retain an exposed face within the quarry will ensure that biodiversity in the area is enhanced in accordance with SP Policy 1 (Nature Conservation).

 

I am satisfied that the proposal conforms with SP Policy 1(Nature Conservation), MLP Policies M6 (Nature Conservation) and LP Policy EC7 which seek to protect the value of Somerset’s biodiversity.

 

 

7.

Conclusion

 

7.1

Hadspen Quarry provides the local market with a valuable source of Hadspen Stone and fulfils an important role in maintaining the character of South Somerset.  The continuation and extension of the quarry does not present any significant detrimental visual, ecological, environmental, traffic or amenity issues and is therefore in accordance with the development plan.

 

The County Wildlife Site and RIGs adjacent to the quarry will also not be affected, and in due course they have the potential to be enhanced through quarry restoration. 

 

Subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions I consider that this planning application conforms to the development plan; and taking into account all other material considerations I recommend planning permission should be granted.

 

 

 

8.

Recommendation

 

8.1

It is recommended that conditional planning permission be GRANTED subject to the imposition by the Head of Environmental Regeneration and Regulation of appropriate conditions relating to:-

 

1.         The development hereby permitted shall be commenced within five years of the date of this permission.

 

Reason: Pursuant to Section 91(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

 

2.         The development hereby permitted shall be carried out in strict accordance with the approved plans and specifications, and with any scheme, working programme or other details submitted to and approved by the Mineral Planning Authority in pursuance of any condition attached to this permission, unless (in either case) prior written approval is obtained from the Mineral Planning Authority to any variation.

 

Reason: To enable the Mineral Planning Authority to deal promptly with any development not in accordance with the approved plans.

 

3.         Extraction of minerals shall cease by 31 December 2027 and restoration shall be completed by 31 December 2028.  A five year period of aftercare following restoration shall be completed by 2032. 

 

Reason: To ensure that the site is reclaimed to a satisfactory after-use within a reasonable period of time.

 

4.         The output from the quarry shall not exceed 2,500 tonnes per annum.  From the date of this permission the operators shall maintain records of their annual output and shall make them available to the Mineral Planning Authority at any time upon request.

 

Reason: In the interests of highway safety and local amenity and to secure the prudent exploitation of a scarce resource.

 

5.         There shall be no working of any stone beneath 120 metres AOD.

 

Reason: To protect the water table and minimise the risk of pollution of watercourses and aquifers.

 

 

6.         Only building stone shall be removed from the site.  All other materials, including topsoil, shall be retained for the restoration of the site.

 

Reason: To ensure the prudent exploitation of a scarce resource and to ensure there is sufficient material for restoration purposes.

 

7.         Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, or any order revoking or re-enacting that Order:-

·         No building, structure or other enclosure shall be erected, constructed or placed on that part of the land within the curtilage of the quarry without the prior written consent of the Mineral Planning Authority; and

·         No quarry waste material shall be deposited except on the quarry floor unless prior written approval is obtained from the Mineral Planning Authority.

 

Reason: To protect the visual amenities of the area and to secure the restoration of the site.

 

8.         No operations or uses authorised or required by this permission shall be carried out on the site except between the following times:-

 

0700 hours and 1800 hours Mondays to Fridays; and

0700 hours and 1300 hours Saturdays.

 

There shall be no working on Sundays, Bank Holidays or National Holidays.

 

Reason: To minimise disturbance to neighbours and the surrounding area.

 

 

Control of Pollution

 

  1. Any facilities for the storage of oils, fuels or chemicals shall be sited on impervious bases and surrounded by integral impervious bund walls.  The volume of the bunded compound should be at least equivalent to the capacity of the tank plus 10%.  If there is multiple tankage, the compound should be at least equivalent to the capacity of the largest tank, or the combined capacity of interconnected tanks, plus 10%, or 25% of the total volume which could be stored at any one time, whichever is the greater.  All filling points, vents, gauges and site glasses must be located within the bund.  The drainage system of the bund shall be sealed with no discharge to any watercourse, land or underground strata.  Associated pipework shall be located above ground, where possible, and protected from accidental damage.  All filling points and tank overflow pipe outlets shall be detailed to discharge downwards into the bund.

 

Reason: To prevent pollution of the water environment.

 

10.       There shall be no discharge of foul or contaminated drainage or trade effluent from the site into either groundwater or any surface waters, whether direct or via soakaways.  Clean surface water shall be drained on a separate system to foul water.

 

Reason: To prevent pollution of the water environment.

 

11.              Nothing other than uncontaminated excavated natural materials shall be   deposited on the site.

 

Reason:  To prevent pollution of the water environment.

 

12.       The 'pollution prevention and mitigation strategies for Grove Farm Quarry' submitted with Land & Mineral Management Ltd's letter dated 28 February 2005 shall be implemented for the duration of this development.

 

Reason: To minimise the risk of pollution to the water environment.

 

 

Reclamation and Restoration

 

13.      The development hereby permitted shall be restored in accordance to the restoration scheme contained in appendix 10 of the ‘amplification statement’ and shown on drawing no’ 343/A/14, unless written prior approval is obtained from the Mineral Planning Authority to any variation.

Reason:  To ensure that the site is progressively reclaimed to a beneficial afteruse.

 

14.              The approved restoration scheme referred to in condition 13 above shall be subject to a joint formal annual review between the applicant, or their agents or successors in title and the Mineral Planning Authority (MPA) with the first meeting scheduled for July 2018 and every July thereafter.

Each review shall comprise the submission to the MPA of an assessment of progress on the approved restoration scheme together with any proposed minor variations to the approved scheme to be submitted to and approved in writing by the MPA prior to implementation.

            The assessment of progress on the approved schemes shall include           details of:  restoration commenced and completed, including use of mineral waste, spreading soils and treatment of quarry faces and rock outcrops.

Reason:  To allow the formal review of progress on the approved scheme and approval of any minor modifications to the approved scheme resulting from any changed circumstances that may arise throughout the life of this permission.

15.       Within 12 months of the date of the permanent cessation of mineral extraction hereby permitted within the terms of paragraph 3 of Schedule 9 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, all machinery, plant and stockpiles shall be removed from the land and the site shall be restored in accordance with the scheme referred to in condition 14, unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Mineral Planning Authority.

 

Reason: To ensure that the land is reclaimed to beneficial after-use within a reasonable time in the interests of the visual amenities of the area.

 

Landscaping

 

16.       Before any operations are commenced on the site, details of a scheme of landscaping for the quarry complex shall be submitted to and approved by the Mineral Planning Authority; the details shall include:-

 

·         A planting scheme & schedule (identifying the species of trees and hedging shrubs, numbers and densities);

  • Ground preparation details to support tree and hedge planting;
  • Restoration of the area of land located in a north westerly 50 metre radius from Lime Kiln Lane to the Masonry saw shed in order to ensure effective landscaping once the exisitng buildings have been removed;
  • Location of any proposed waste storage mounds (including the storage of topsoil, which shall segregated from other material) and timetable for their retension on site; and
  • A programme of maintenance and after-care work.

 

And upon approval such scheme shall be implemented within the first available planting season.

 

Reason: To comply with Section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to improve the appearance of the site in the interests of visual amenity, to screen the workings, and to assist in absorbing the site back into the local landscape.

 

17.       Trees, shrubs and hedges planted in accordance with the approved scheme agreed under Condition 16 above, shall be maintained and any plants that at any time during the development and aftercare period die, are removed or become seriously damaged or diseased, shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of a similar size and species, unless otherwise agreed in writing with the Mineral Planning Authority.

 

Reason: In the interests of the amenity of the local area and to ensure the development is adequately screened.

 

 

18.              The existing trees within the site shall be retained and shall not be felled without the prior consent of the MPA.  (Note this condition does not apply to any trees removed as part of approved works which have been agreed in writing with the MPA.)

 

Reason:  In the interests of the amenity of the local area and to ensure the development is adequately screened.

 

19.              Prior to commencement of operations hereby permitted, measures shall be taken for the protection of trees and hedgerows from damage in accordance with precise details, which shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the MPA.  The means of protection shall include:

 

(i)                  measures to prevent disturbance to, soil levels within the root spread of tree or hedgerow; and

(ii)                protective fencing

 

The means of protection shall be retained until all plant equipment and surplus materials have been removed from the site.  Nothing shall be stored or placed in any area protected and the ground levels within these areas shall not be altered without the prior agreement of the MPA.

 

Reason:  In the interests of the amenity of the local area and to ensure the development is adequately screened.

 

Archaeology and Biodiversity

 

20.       No development shall take place until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, have secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological works in accordance with a written scheme of investigation as detailed in the application supporting statement which has been submitted to, and approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority.

 

Reason: To protect the archaeological interests of the area.  To enable sites of archaeological interest to be adequately investigated and recorded.

 

 

21.       The operator shall afford access, at all reasonable times and with prior notice, to any geologist nominated by the Mineral Planning Authority, and shall allow them to observe excavations and record items of interest.

 

Reason: To enable sites of geological interest to be adequately investigated and recorded.

 

22.              A buffer strip of 3 metres shall be maintained between the ‘Quarry Meadow’ County Wildlife Site and the northeastern boundary of the application site.  This boundary shall be permanently marked on site, details of which shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority.

 

Reason:  In the interests of nature conservation.

 

 

Amenity Issues

 

23.       No explosives shall be used on site at any time in the winning and working of minerals.

 

Reason: In the interests of public safety.

 

 

24.       The dust suppression measures detailed on page 7 of the 'Amplification Statement' included with the planning application shall be implemented for the duration of the development.

 

Reason: To protect the amenity of nearby residents.

 

25.    All vehicles, plant and machinery operated within the site shall be maintained in accordance with the manufacterers specification at all times, and shall be fitted with and use effective silencers.

 

Reason: To protect the amenity of nearby residents.

 

Highway Safety

 

26.       No heavy goods vehicles and plant shall enter the public highway unless its wheels and chassis are clean. 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

27.              The proposed new access hereby permitted shall not be brought into use until a vehicle cross-over has been constructed across the verge fronting the site, for the width of the access.

 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

28.       The proposed access over the first 10m of its length, as measured from the edge of the adjoining carriageway, shall be properly consolidated and surfaced (not loose stone or gravel) in accordance with details, which shall have been submitted to and approved by the Mineral Planning Authority.

 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

29.       Any entrance gates erected shall be hung to open inwards and shall be set  back a minimum distance of 6.0m from the carriageway edge.

 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

30.       The gradient of the accessway shall not at any point be steeper than 1 in 10 for a distance of 10m from its junction with the public highway.

 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

31.       Provision shall be made within the site for the disposal of surface water so  as to prevent its discharge onto the highway, details of which shall have been submitted to and approved by the Mineral Planning Authority prior to the development hereby permitted first being brought into use.

 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

32.       The existing access shall be stopped up and its use permanently abandoned within one month of the new access hereby permitted being first brought into use.

 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

33.       There shall be no obstruction to visibility greater than 600mm above the adjoining road level, in advance of a line drawn 4.5m back from the carriageway edge on the centre line of the access and extending to a point on the nearside carriageway edge in a northerly direction of the access for a distance of 33m.  Such visibility shall be fully provided before works commence on the implementation of the development hereby permitted and shall thereafter be maintained at all times.

 

Reason:          In the interests of highway safety.

 

Note to the applicant:

 

1.      Where works are to be undertaken on or adjoining the publicly maintainable highway a licence under Section 171 of the Highways Act 1980 must be obtained in writing from the Highway Authority.  Application forms can be obtained by writing to Roger Tyson of the Transport Development Group, Environment Department, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY or by telephoning him on 01823 356011.  Applications should be submitted at least four weeks before works are proposed to commence in order for statutory undertakers to be consulted concerning their services.

 

2.      The fee for a section 171 Licence is £100.  This will entitle the developer to have his plans checked and specifications supplied.  The works will also be inspected by the Superintendence team and will be signed off upon satisfactory completion.

 

3.      Any oil storage facility of 200 litres or more must include a bund, and comply with the oil storage regulations 2001

4.      Materials described as “uncontaminated excavated materials” are those which are incapable of being a source of water pollution.  Materials to be excluded are biodegradable or putrescible materials including paper, cardboard, timber, plasterboard or related products, and any potentially polluting materials.

5.      It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the development will not affect any existing legal water interests in the area.

6.      The applicant is advised to contact the County Geology Group (Hugh Prudden) to ensure that the development does not adversely affect the RIGs.

 

 

Relevant Development Plan Policies

 

The following is a summary of the reasons for the County Council’s decision to grant planning permission.

 

1.     In accordance with Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 the decision on this application should be taken in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.  The decision has been taken having regard to the policies and proposals in the :- Regional Planning Guidance 10, the Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Review 1991-2011, adopted April 2000 (the “Structure Plan Review”), the South Somerset District Local Plan, adopted April 2006 (the “District Plan”) and the Somerset Minerals Local Plan, adopted April 2004 (the “Minerals Local Plan”).  The Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Alteration 1991-2011 (the “Structure Plan Alteration”), deposit draft dated June 2004 and the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West are also a material consideration.  The policies in those Plans particularly relevant to the proposed development are:-

 

Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Review 1991 – 2011 adopted in April 2000

 

STR1 - Sustainable development - The development represents sustainable development as the extraction of locally distinctive stone will ensure that the character of Somerset’s built environment is retained. A limit on the amount of stone to be removed will also ensure that there is no detrimental harm to the local environment.

 

STR6 - Development outside towns, rural centres and villages -  The development will benefit economic activity and will not increase the need to travel.  The site also has an existing planning permission for mineral extraction and processing and therefore the principle of permanency has been established.

 

Policy 1 – Nature Conservation – The development will not cause any significant effect to local ecology and restoration will in due course enhance the nature conservation value of the site

 

Policy 5 - Landscape Character - The development is adjacent to an existing mineral operational area, would not affect any special landscape features and would add to the economic activity of the local community.

 

Policy 32 – Extraction Criteria - The continued extraction of stone at this site represents sustainable use of the mineral resource and conditions will be re-imposed to ensure there are no adverse effects.

 

Policy 60 – Floodplain Protection - Due to the location and nature of the proposed development it is unlikely to exacerbate existing flooding problems in Hadspen.

 

Somerset & Exmoor National Park Joint Structure Plan Alteration 1996 – 2016 Deposit Draft June 2004

 

STR1 - Sustainable development - The development represents sustainable development as the extraction of locally distinctive stone will ensure that the character of Somerset’s built environment is retained. A limit on the amount of stone to be removed will also ensure that there is no detrimental harm to the local environment.

 

STR6a - Development outside towns, rural centres and villages -  The development will benefit economic activity and will not increase the need to travel.  The site also has an existing planning permission for mineral extraction and processing and therefore the principle of permanency has been established.

 

Policy 1 – Nature Conservation – The development will not cause any significant effect to local ecology and restoration will in due course enhance the nature conservation value of the site

 

Policy 5 - Landscape Character - The development is adjacent to an existing mineral operational area, would not affect any special landscape features and would add to the economic activity of the local community.

 

Policy 32 – Extraction Criteria - The continued extraction of stone at this site represents sustainable use of the mineral resource and conditions will be re-imposed to ensure there are no adverse effects.

 

Policy 60 – Floodplain Protection - Due to the location and nature of the proposed development it is unlikely to exacerbate existing flooding problems in Hadspen.

 

 

South Somerset Local Plan (adopted April 2006)

 

ST6 – The Quality of Development - The development supports this policy in principal as it provides a source of locally distinctive stone to ensure building character in South Somerset is retained.

 

EC3 – Landscape Character - The development is adjacent to an existing mineral operational area, would not affect any special landscape features and would add to the economic activity of the local community.

 

EC7 – Networks of Natural Habitats - The development will not cause any significant effect to local ecology and restoration will in due course enhance the nature conservation value of the site

 

EP2 – Pollution and Noise - The stone will be extracted as in the existing consent and processing the stone in an enclosed shed will reduce any noise impacts.  Limits on the amount of material to be exported from the site will reduce the potential impact of traffic noise.

 

 

Minerals Local Plan (adopted April 2004)

 

Policy M2 – Landscape - The development is a continuation of an existing mineral operation and would not in the longer term adversely affect any special landscape features.

 

Policy M5 – Nature Conservation - The development will not cause any significant effect to local ecology and restoration will in due course enhance the nature conservation value of the site

 

Policy M6 – Nature Conservation - The development will not cause any significant effect to local ecology and restoration will in due course enhance the nature conservation value of the site

 

Policy M14 – Water Environment - Due to the location and nature of the proposed development it is unlikely to exacerbate existing flooding problems in Hadspen.

 

Policy M17 - Reclamation and after use – Limits imposed on the amount of material to be exported from the site will ensure satisfactory restoration can be achieved.

 

Policy M23 – Traffic – The new quarry access is required to improve visibility for emerging quarry traffic and with suitable landscape planting not be detrimental to the character of the area.

 

Policy M25 – Noise - The stone will be extracted as in the existing consent and processing the stone in an enclosed shed will reduce any noise impacts.  Limits on the amount of material to be exported from the site will reduce the potential impact of traffic noise.

 

Policy M46 – Building Stone Extraction - The continued extraction of stone at this site represents sustainable use of the mineral resource and conditions will be re-imposed to ensure there are no adverse effects.

 

Policy M47 - The approved restoration plan will ensure satisfactory restoration can be achieved.

 

Policy M48 - Building stone quarry production limits – Existing limit of 2,500 tonnes per annum will remain in place to protect residential amenities.

 

2.  The County Council has also had regard to all other material considerations and, in particular that the proposed new access is necessary in order to ensure Highway safety.

 

 

 

 

Background Papers

 

 

 

07/01623/CPO – Application File

 

 

 

 

 

153093