Agenda item

Call-In Request - Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan (Partial Update) Consultation Response

Following the request from Cllrs J Davies, P Woods, M Wade, S Osborne, J Richards, D Millar and J Haywood on the Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan (Partial Update) Consultation Response Portfolio Holder decision, which agreed the proposed response to the Hampshire County Council’s Mineral and Waste Plan: Partial Update, this matter will now be considered by the Panel.


It is for the Panel to consider the issues being raised by the above-named Councillors, as set out in paragraphs 2.3 – 2.9 of the report.


Please note: In accordance with the Council’s procedures, as more than two Members requested that the decision be called in, the decision has not been implemented and will not be implemented until the procedures in paragraphs 4.2 and 5.2 in the Council’s Call in Procedure for Executive Decisions have been completed. The matter has been referred to this Panel for consideration and all Councillors that submitted a formal call-in have been invited to attend and speak.


The Chairman explained the Call-In procedure and the reasons for the item coming to Panel. 


Deputations were heard from a member of the public and from a Councillor of the Fordingbridge Town Council.


Cllrs Wade, Davies, Richards, Osborne and Haywood were invited to speak as those who submitted call-in requests. Cllrs Millar and Woods who also submitted call-in requests had sent their apologies and therefore did not address the Panel. 


The main points raised during these representations were:


·       The environmental impact that would arise from allowing a quarry at Midgham Farm. The number of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) would cause pollution to the local area whilst also disturbing the natural environment and habitat for local animals. Reference was made to other mineral extraction sites in the District that saw neighbouring residential areas suffer from dirt and dust, particularly in the Summer months. Reference was also made to specific animal habitation, such as those of the sand lizard and dormouse. 


·       Concern was raised on the impact to the local highways network around Midgham Farm, due to the use of HGVs in and around the area, as well as transportation of machinery to and from the site. In addition, there was concern over the new access route that would be required for Midgham Farm site which would need to be laid through forest land, therefore causing more environmental disruption and damage.


·       962 objections to the Mineral and Waste consultation had been received and 42% of these related specifically to the Midgham Farm site. There was very strong local opinion on the matter and members felt that the New Forest District Council’s proposed consultation response did not adequately reflect the local sentiment. 


Cllr Ward was invited to address the Panel as a non-panel member after submitting a request to speak to the Chairman. She explained that the proposed consultation response was not robust enough and that the proposed extraction site at Ashley Manor Farm would cause further issues to existing problems with dust, gravel, noise disruption, environmental protection and an inadequate buffer zone.


The Acting Assistant Director for Place Development introduced the report and gave his presentation. The main points were as follows: 


·       A summary of the review timeline was provided, and the Panel were reminded that Hampshire County Council were the plan-making authority. A review of the Minerals and Waste Plan was initiated in 2020 when parts of the plan were marked as requiring update. In 2021, Officers made comments on HCC’s sustainability appraisal and baseline report. Regulation 18, was responded to by the District Council in January 2023 by way of a formal consultation response. The proposed response now being considered would relate to Regulation 19, which features a number of changes to the Regulation 18 plan, primarily a change in the proposed sites.


·       The geology of the District dictates the selection of mineral extraction sites. Many of the existing sites are coming to the end of their lifecycle and there is therefore a need for new sites to be identified for benefit of the local and national economy. 


·       A summary of NFDC’s views given during the Regulation 18 consultation were provided and the Acting Assistant Director for Place Development explained the reasons why some aspects of NFDC’s views had changed since this initial response. The inclusion of landscape buffers and the addressing of impacts on ecological concerns were among the reasons why NFDC’s position had changed; concerns raised by Officers in the Regulation 18 response had been addressed.


·       A contextual plan and explanation were provided to the Panel highlighting Midgham Farm’s location and its proximity to the existing Bleak Hill site.


·       The options available to Panel were reiterated and members were invited to comment, discuss, and ask questions on the report.  


The Portfolio Holder addressed the Panel on the proposed consultation response, the main points were as follows: 


·       Reference was made to the draft report that was circulated for comment prior to the proposed consultation response being written. It was highlighted how no objections had been raised relating to Midgham Farm during this stage of the process. 


·       Advice from specialist officers on technical aspects of hydrology and ecology had been sought. As a Portfolio Holder, he relied on the professional advice of Officers. 


·       It was confirmed that the consultation was still running and any individual with concerns regarding the plan was welcome to submit their thoughts to Hampshire County Council. 


·       It was acknowledged that mineral extraction was never popular but that it was becoming more difficult to designate sites that were suitable. 


Members of the Panel were invited to make comment and ask questions on the report. The main points were as follows: 


·       A member commented on the level of pollution and dust that was created at an existing site at Hythe quarry. 


·       Reference was made to Hampshire County Council’s Regulatory Committee and the number of complaints made regarding the issues at Hythe quarry. 


·       Significant concern was raised by a member on the proximity of the proposed Midgham Farm and Ashley Manor Farm sites.


·       Comments were made on the closure of certain sites during the Winter months, suggesting that there was only seasonal benefit to the sites.


·       A member made reference to Calshot quarry and specified that the volume of traffic and strain on the highways surrounding this site would be a concern if it saw an increased or if replicated elsewhere in the District.


·       It was acknowledged that sand and gravel were required to build the District’s much-needed houses. 




That the panel refer the decision to full Council for debate at a Council meeting to be held within fifteen working days’ time.

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