Councillors against plan for Filching Quarry

Filching Quarry
Filching Quarry

A DISUSED quarry should not be used as a landfill site to dump waste, according to East Sussex County Council.

On Wednesday (June 22) the council’s planning committee voted unanimously against a controversial blueprint to ‘restore’ Filching Quarry.

Officers and councillors agreed that reopening the quarry and filling it with rubbish would cause traffic problems, damage residents’ lives and could affect levels of recycling.

Jasmine Gaiton, from the Filching Landfill Action Group, told the planning committee, “It will subject immediate residents to above statutory noise levels and it will damage their quality of life.

“It will also subject residents to dust during the summer and mud during the winter.

“The application is flawed and against all environmental strategies. We should not be considering making a national park a receptacle for building waste.”

The site, which is between Wannock and Jevington, was used as a quarry from the 1800s until a Prohibition Notice was issued by the Health and Safety Executive in 1990 because of unsafe steep slopes.

Haulaway Ltd has proposed to fill the quarry with 680,000 tons of waste in five years which it said will restore the quarry and make it safe again.

John Palmer, a planning consultant speaking on behalf of the developer, said, “The key reason for the application is the restoration and stabilisation of the quarry.”

He said an independent planning consultant in 2011 had carried out a study on behalf of the county council which said the quarry was a safety hazard and infilling would make it safe

Mr Palmer said there were no operational landfills in East Sussex and that waste had to be exported elsewhere.

He also said the landfill would decrease the county’s carbon footprint by decreasing the number of long-distance lorry journeys to take waste outside of the county.

The plan generated widespread public opposition with more than 260 letters of objection sent to the council and only four letters of support.

Because the quarry is set within the South Downs National Park planning permission is needed from the recently established South Downs National Park Authority, but the county council has been consulted because of its impact on areas outside the national park.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting planning officers prepared a report which was critical of the proposal.

It said the proposal would increase traffic on a road which is not suitable for HGVs and the noise from vehicles would affect residents, create air pollution and damage the C40.

The report also concluded the landfill could “restrict recycling”.

Councillor Jo Carr from Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council, which also opposed the planning application, welcomed the views of the planning officers.

She said, “Since 1980 the East Sussex County Council has refused all five applications to extend excavation of chalk from this site and/or to landfill this quarry

“The grounds for refusal have been consistent, traffic, loss of amenity, environmental damage to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, potential pollution and a 1997 minerals review also refused a condition to allow landfill. We are pleased to see this clarified as landfill even though it has been presented as a restoration.”

The planning committee voted unanimously against the development on the grounds of waste management, the loss of a public amenity and increase in traffic.

Their comments will be passed to the South Downs National Park Authority which will make a decision on the planning application.