Quarry plans threat to ‘unsuitable’ road

Protesters at the quarry
Protesters at the quarry

RESIDENTS fear a narrow country road could collapse under a fleet of 32-ton lorries if plans to fill in a disused quarry are given the go-ahead.

At a meeting last week, homeowners from Jevington and Filching warned the road connecting them to Polegate could cave in should planning permission be granted to Haulaway in Hailsham by East Sussex County Council.

The waste management company wants to fill in Filching Quarry with 680,000 tons of inert filling material over five years, meaning heavy goods vehicles will rumble over the road 52 times a day during the week.

On Saturday trucks will make 26 journeys to and from the chalkpit.

Concerned residents had to be turned away from packed-out Wannock Village Hall, as more than 300 gathered to hear about plans and how best to oppose them.

Residents said the road had collapsed when the pit was being quarried more than two decades ago and feared it would happen again.

Planning applicant and managing director of Haulaway, Colin Holloway addressed disgruntled residents in a bid to dispel their fears.

Jasmine Gayton, of Filching Landfill Action Group, said, “The meeting has garnered a huge hostile attitude. Some of the letters going to the council are actually a bit over the top in an aggressive way. But if that’s how strongly people feel there’s not a lot you can do about it.

“The main concern for residents is the C-road, which is totally unsuitable for 30-ton trucks. Last time the road collapsed outside Filching Manor. It’s a very unsuitable road and if it collapses again people will be facing an eight-mile detour to get to the shops.”

Campaigners have won the backing of Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd who is preparing a petition against Haulaway’s proposals.

“I am extremely frustrated that this issue has reared its ugly head again after local residents saw it off last time. They don’t want huge lorries trundling past their houses in Jevington and Filching, nor do they want this tremendous quarry which is now a haven for nature and wildlife to be desecrated,” said Mr Lloyd.

On Saturday (April 9) campaigners staged a protest for television crews outside the quarry gates. Ramblers, horseriders and homeowners gathered to shout their objections for nearby cameras. East Sussex County Council is holding a public consultation which ends on May 6 when the application will be considered in full.