Plans to approve huge sand and gravel quarry just 250 metres from Northamptonshire village homes turned down by council

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Plans to convert 38 hectares of land next to a Northamptonshire village into a quarry have been shot down after almost 70 people objected to the proposals.

Industry expert Mick George Ltd hoped to use land just off the M1 roundabout at Junction 16 to extract sand and gravel over six years.

An estimated 1.15 million tonnes of material would be processed on-site over this period, just 250 metres from the nearest homes in Upper Heyford.

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Cllr Tony Williams from Nether Heyford Parish Council said: “As you know this site is very close to residential dwellings and as such the impact on amenity should be limited as much as possible. The hours as specified clearly do not take that detriment impact fully into account.

The process would have involved 38 hectares of land off Junction 16 of the M1, near Upper Heyford. 
Credit: GoogleThe process would have involved 38 hectares of land off Junction 16 of the M1, near Upper Heyford. 
Credit: Google
The process would have involved 38 hectares of land off Junction 16 of the M1, near Upper Heyford. Credit: Google

“In the village, we’ve got a lot of children and people are very worried about the potential health impacts.”

In total, 67 members of the public from nearby villages submitted their objections to the application, raising concerns about the noise, effects on their amenities, air pollution from dust and potential health risks. Nether Heyford, Upper Heyford and Flore Parish Council also all submitted their objections to the application.

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) planning officers recommended that the committee approve the project. They highlighted the fact that the area was already identified as an allocated sand and gravel extraction site and that the demand for such minerals is “strong” given the future growth in housebuilding.

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Many objections surrounded the perceived risk to health from dust arising from the quarrying, which could cause Silicosis if an individual has “significant exposure” to the dust. However, WNC officers advised that the development is acceptable when taking into account its dust monitoring and management plan.

Plans for the quarrying site in covered a large field between Upper Heyford, Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke Meadows. It is bounded by the M1 to the north and the River Nene to the south. 
Credit: GooglePlans for the quarrying site in covered a large field between Upper Heyford, Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke Meadows. It is bounded by the M1 to the north and the River Nene to the south. 
Credit: Google
Plans for the quarrying site in covered a large field between Upper Heyford, Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke Meadows. It is bounded by the M1 to the north and the River Nene to the south. Credit: Google

John Gough, a representative of Mick George Ltd, said: “The company is aware there have been concerns expressed about potential health impacts associated with quarries. However, notably neither Public Health England nor your authority’s environmental health officer has raised any concerns or objections.

“I therefore ask for consent granted along with stringent planning conditions which will ensure the site is operated to the highest standards.”

Working hours were suggested between the hours of 7am and 6pm for quarry excavation and would be between 7am and 10pm for the mineral and soil washing plant. Despite concerns raised around these times, Mr Gough disputed claims that the plant would be a “noisy operation”.

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Work would be carried out in a phased approach, with only a part of the site being operational at any one time. This would ensure restoration works on the land could be carried out progressively so most of the land would remain undisturbed or reinstated at any given time.

After hours of consideration, councillors ultimately decided to refuse the application contrary to officers’ recommendations. Six members voted against the quarry going ahead, one abstained and five voted in favour.