Posted: 14.05.20 at 19:01 by The Editor
MORE than 1,000 people have now registered individual objections to plans to create a huge quarry between Stanford-le-Hope and Linford.
An application for mineral extraction and processing at Orsett Quarry and an extension into adjoining land at Walton's Hall Farm, was submitted to Thurrock Council by Ingrebourne Valley Ltd in November last year and exclusively reported by Thurrock Nub News.
Our report sparked an immediate wave of concern from local residents and environmental groups, many of who were overwhelmed by the scale of the proposed development.
Initial opposition to the scheme was slow to take off and one of the leading campaigners against it, Mick Thompson from Stanford Park in Stanford-le-Hope, warned that the greatest danger was apathy. Early in the application’s life he said: "Today there are still only 184 public comments. Do we really want another 20 years of more dust ingress, more noise, more heavy traffic movement, wildlife decline etc and then another landfill?
“So I urge you all to take a few minutes to submit your objections."
His word have been heeded – and there is still time to add more comments on the application before a decision is made. You can do so by visiting the council’s planning portal via this link.
And while individuals have objected in huge numbers – 1,013 at the latest count, with just two supporting the plan – there have been concerns from the statutory consultees too. Several environmental groups have objected while Highways England say they cannot give final comments because of a lack of information about the routing of the 300 vehicle movements a day the quarry will bring. Their letter says the agency has not offered a formal recommendation.
And Thurrock Council's own highways department has not offered a recommendation because it too says it has not received enough information.
As well as the online objections, a number of individual objections have been sent in writing – and a petition with 583 signatures received.
All the comments and letters, together with full details of the application, can be read here.
It would seem unlikely, against such a huge backdrop of opposition, that the scheme will win support in its present form, but Mr Thompson remains wary and sceptical of the council’s systems. In late January the council’s online systems appeared to falter and many people couldn’t register their opinion – something which led campaigners to speculate that the council were trying to hide the full scale of the opposition.
Now Mr Thompson fears the scheme may not get a full hearing in public. He says: “I’m just worried it will go to council during lockdown so all us Stanford and Maple Park residents who it’s going to affect can’t go and show our objections in the public gallery.
“The application will kill the local wildlife, cause unknown dust/noise pollution and add more traffic pollution to an area inundated with lorries etc. Not forgetting it will be on St Clere’s School’s doorstep.
Thurrock Nub News has asked Thurrock Council for an update on where the application sits in their system and if it is scheduled to go before the planning committee at some point.
At the present time no arrangements have been made for the planning committee to meet because of the coronavirus situation. It last met on 19 March.
Further to the initial publication of exclusive story, the following is a timeline of some of the follow-ups we have publishing which detail the high level of opposition.
9 January Mayor joins list of objectors.
10 January Environmental groups back quarry opposition.
26 January Bid for second site
30 January Residents concerned as they can’t get online to lodge objections
6 February Campaigners call on parents to get involved.
11 February Councillor says quarry will be ‘death knell’ for area.