Campaign to Stop Sand and Gravel Extraction at Barford and Wasperton
Includes Key Documents and Reports
From October 2015 to August 2018
OCTOBER 2015. First Consultation
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) issued notification of their intention to include Wasperton Farm (Site 4) and Glebe Farm (Site 5) in WCC Local Minerals Plan. The Community were notified and village meetings were organised by Parish Councils. WCC planners attended to outline the proposals and answer questions from the community.
The Community rallied to respond by end of January 2016. There were 210 respondents for site 4 and 158 for site 5. A community member’s response guided by first professional opinion (Keith Williams – Stansgate Consultants)
OCTOBER 2016. Cabinet Meeting
WCC planners presented to Cabinet, proposed to move the plan forward with a reduction in size for Site 4 (now with 350 metres adjacent to Sandy Way removed) to the next stage of the process.
DECEMBER 2016 – FEBRUARY 2017 Second Consultation
This consultation could only consider the Soundness and Legality of the plan and had to be completed within very specific parameters. A Community meeting was held to provide information and included talks by specialists and a How To complete the Form 20 required by WCC.
Wardell Armstrong advised community members on how to respond to consultation WA also sought advice from specialist, Jam Consulting to appraise the counties Sustainability Appraisal. Additional Professional report by Fisher German commissioned and submitted as part of the consultation.
There were 135 Responses for site 4, and 115 for site 5.
After this consultation a group of residents gathered to meet with representative from Wardell Armstrong, Stephen Stoney. It was agreed that we needed to commence a fundraising campaign to build a fund with which to pay for professional advice.
Community members agreed to instruct Wardell Armstrong to advise and guide the community on how to proceed in order to be prepared for the next phase. It was just after this that the Sand and Gravel Action Group was formed.
Wardell Armstrong advised seeking guidance from Barrister specialising in Minerals. A Brief to Advise was prepared by Wardell Armstrong in advance of meeting with Richard Kimblin of No.5 Chambers, attended by members of the committee.
Barrister’s recommendation was to focus on Heritage and Landscape as these are the key areas followed by ‘Best and Most Versatile’ Land and the Sustainability Appraisal. Due to WCC not having sufficiently investigated these areas the barrister advised strongly for us to obtain specialist Reports covering Heritage and Landscape. These reports were commissioned and submitted to WCC planning department and meetings were held and reports presented to Leader of WCC, the Portfolio Holder and County Councillors.
Community meetings and events (e.g. the very successful Promise Auction) have been held to raise the awareness of the campaign, to inform residents, gain support and financial contribution to oppose the inclusion of Sites 4 and 5 in the plan.
OCTOBER 17 Cabinet Meeting
Just prior to this meeting WCC planning department advised that as they were a further year on, they had re-calculated the amount of Sand and Gravel required and were now reducing the overall amount from 8.5 million tonnes to 6.5 million tonnes. A reduction of almost 2m tonnes.
Community members selected specific topics on which to present at cabinet.
The result of this new proposal, although good news in general, was another 9-month delay.
We had EVERYTHING to fight for. The committee engaged the services of a campaign consultant from Green Balance. The advice here was to analyse the situation with regard to inert fill
It was also recommended that Hedgerow and Ecology reports be commissioned in order to support arguments in the Landscape Report for Site 4 and to demonstrate the difficulty and unviability of working the site. Ecology plus Hydrology (Thelsford Brook) for Site 5 were conducted for the same reasons but also as a means to demonstrate a lesser tonnage available to that of the proposer (WCC)
Again, these reports were submitted to WCC planners and Officers to be considered in their site selection.
WCC planning Department released the documents for the revised plan which showed that Site 5 Glebe Farm and Site 7 Salford Priors had been withdrawn from the plan in order to reduce tonnage. An additional 0.985 m tonnes had been left in the plan in order to cover any shortfalls during the plan period.
Cabinet Meeting July 2018
Yet again members of the community presented key issues of opposition to the members of the Cabinet. However, the Cabinet moved the plan on to be presented to the Full Council two days later. The decision here was that the plan be prepared to go out to yet another consultation where members of the public are able to comment on the soundness and legality of the plan on a form either the same as or similar to the Form 20 used in December 16 – February 17 consultation.
Financial Facts to date
This spreadsheet itemises the monies we have raised since early 2017 until the end of August 2018. It also details how the money has been spent and to whom it has been paid.
INDEX OF DOCUMENT LINKS
October 2015 – August 2018
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
September 2018 – The next Phase
A group of approximately 20 residents from Barford, Wasperton and Sherbourne were invited to a meeting in early September (2018) to discuss the current situation and to decide how it was felt the committee should proceed. The view was overwhelmingly that we as a committee and a community should continue to oppose this proposal. It was agreed to get the information and guidance from Minerals Planning Experts to be able to respond to this next consultation in the most accurate and strenuous manner. On the basis that this plan reaches the Inspector, (which it undoubtedly will) the community have this final opportunity to influence what happens. Anything which we want the Inspector to consider must be raised prior to the inspection itself and so this is our last shot at raising and highlighting issues either with the plan itself or the proposal to include Site 4 and ensuring that Site 5 doesn’t get dragged back in.
Significant support of funding was promised at this meeting
What you should know:
The inclusion of a site in the local minerals plan carries a
presumption to grant.
It is highly unlikely that as a community we will be able to do anything much at the planning application stage except get a few points of mitigation.
We have to fight at this consultation stage to get site 4 removed from the plan.
At the moment we do not have the full documentation that will be released in conjunction with the new plan. When it is released at the start of the consultation we and our appointed professionals will have 6 weeks to analyse and review, to update the committee who in turn will aid the community to respond. This documentation will need to be reviewed in full again to be able to give us the ammunition needed to respond.
WE need to increase the number of responses to this consultation in order to show that as a strong cohesive community, we will oppose this plan
that threatens our Health, Environment and Safety for years to come and damage our landscape on which to grow crops.
It is crucial therefore that we are in a strong financial position to get professionals in their field to respond quickly.
The next consultation was planned for 6 weeks commencing September / October 2018 but has already been delayed by at least 4 weeks.
The advice of professionals does not come cheap and so the community are in a position of having to raise further funds to ensure that when WCC do release full documentation we will be able to move quickly to employ these very necessary professionals to:
assimilate the information,
advise us on what and how to respond in the consultation
advise on our future strategy moving forward.