Former airfield quarry plans rejected

Residents have opposed plans to use Hamble Airfield as a quarry [BBC]

Plans to turn a former airfield into a quarry have been rejected following protests by local residents.

Cemex, a UK supplier of cement and concrete products, hoped to use Hamble Airfield, in Hampshire, to extract sand and gravel for seven years.

Local residents and students from Hamble led protests opposing the development due to noise, traffic, air pollution and safety concerns.

Hampshire County Council rejected the plans at a meeting, citing "uncertainty in relation to flood risk" as one of the reasons.

Students from the nearby Hamble School have taken part in protests against the plans [BBC]

Pupils from Hamble School have taken part in protests against the planning application and delivered a petition opposing the "urban quarry", less than 50m (164ft) from its entrance, to Downing Street.

"Hamble is a delightful village which is going to be ruined by 17 years of lorries travelling backwards and forwards," one opposer had said.

Another added that the roads "are horrendous every single day" and added they could not take the volume of traffic.

After a full day of consideration on Wednesday, councillors voted to refuse the application over concerns it could result in "unacceptable flooding impact through the working and restoration of the site", as well as an adverse impact on the road network.

Councillor Rod Cooper said that the pressure on the highway "as it stands at the moment is close to capacity".

"I don't think that the road infrastructure could cope with additional 144 HDV movements," he said.

If it had been approved, the site would have seen 1.7 million tonnes of sand and gravel extracted - excavating up to 7m (23ft) deep.

Cemex said previously that extraction could take place without "significant adverse effects".

Development planner Emma Pearman said a shortage of sand and gravel in the area would result in insufficient supply for the local building industry, "making it even more difficult for young people to afford".

Hannah Craggs, Hamble School's chair of governors, said its students "worked really hard to make sure everyone knew what their opinion was" and would take the decision as "a victory" that was partially due to them.

Cemex told the council that an appeal was "inevitable".

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