Essex County Council faces a fight from parish councils over mineral extraction plans
THREE parish councils have pledged to continue to fight Essex County Council (ECC) after being put forward as the ‘preferred’ sites for gravel extraction over the next 15 years.
Easton Park Estate in Great Dunmow and Broadfield Farm in Rayne have been earmarked by the county council as the locations for new extraction sites, while the site at Little Bullucks Farm in Canfield is set to be made bigger.
A report by ECC says the volume of traffic in the villages would not increase as the new sites would not become operational before the lease on the old locations expires.
Yet despite the potential impact these sites might have on the villages, the respective parish councils believe that they have not been given all the facts.
Rayne Parish Council chairman Martyn Phillips said: “The main concerns we have as a parish council is that we have had no details about the development and the disruption to village life.
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“We have had a lot of development in recent years and this is just another development. The village is just beginning to recover from the last development.
“It takes time for communities to deal with such significant developments.”
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Despite the county council’s confidence about the volume of traffic, Cllr Phillips is sceptical.
“We haven’t seen any detail about that,” he said. “We do not know if there is going to be a new road or a new access to the A120.
“The worst nightmare for Rayne would be if the weight restriction to the high street was lifted. I don’t know if they plan to do that; we know so little.
“The parish council will oppose the move but it’s difficult to give our views when we don’t know what we’re fighting against. I am confident that people will be against any development.”
Chairman of Little Easton Parish Council Vincent Thompson said: “We are extremely unhappy with the decision. The original proposal was submitted three of four years ago. We fought against it and we were not listened to.
“We are concerned about the old village. The prevailing winds are going to blow noise and dust from the site on to what is a very picturesque setting.
“Water flow around the old village will also be affected. There are seven interlinking ponds and lakes that are fed by springs are the old village.
“With the council wanting to dig and then fill in the site we are worried they will ruin the water flow.”
He added: “People come here to escape for some peace and quiet so we will definitely continue to fight this decision even though planning has been approved.”
A consultation period is underway and drop-in sessions are to be held in the vicinity of all suggested mineral extraction sites. For more details visit essex.gov.uk/MDD-consultation