Villagers thrilled that quarry proposed at Hamble Airfield is set to be refused

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Villagers have said they are thrilled that the quarry proposed for Hamble Airfield is set to be refused.

The plan from a building materials firm for the former airfield looks set to be refused over its transport impact since it does not encourage walking, cycling and public transport, as well as flood risks. Next week, Hampshire County Council’s regulatory committee will make the final decision over Cemex’s application to use the site to extract sand and gravel for seven years and then infill for the next six years.

With excitement, Emma Westmacott, representing the Hamble Peninsular Residents group, said she was happy to learn the planning officer has recommended refusal.

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The application raised more than 2,000 objections from residents, schools and doctors, with Ms Westmacott admitting the campaign had been hard work.

Hamble AirfieldHamble Airfield
Hamble Airfield

She said: “We have downed a year of our lives to fight it. The village pulled it when they needed to. It’s relentless. This planning is really brutal for the communities. But unless you’ve got somebody who can put the time in, you wouldn’t get it turned over because you just have to go to every single angle.”

However, she said that “it is not really over”, adding: “We definitely have to keep the pace. We still have to keep them doing the work and producing the goods at that meeting. We have the people and the specialists to get them all there. We have to nail it.”

She said that the group mobilised the whole community last week when the regulatory committee visited the site before the crunch meeting. “We obviously told our community, and the community pulled out,” she said.

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“The schools were there, there were horses on the roads, people in their cars, and we had banners all the way through it. We showed them what the village was. It is pretty hard to put a quarry here. It’s crazy. I just don’t see how you could operate a quarry in a village like this.”

The report to the committee said the bid, with mitigations, was acceptable from a landscape, ecological, archaeological and visual impact perspective, with proposed restoration and aftercare also acceptable.

But the report said the perceived potential highway impact was one of themain areas of local concern and “does not encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport and appropriate opportunities to promote sustainable transport modes have not been taken up as part of the development”. It also highlighted concerns over the likely risk of “unacceptable flooding impact”.

The final decision is still to be made on Wednesday (May 15). The county council said the meeting will be broadcast online due to high interest. Cemex previously said materials from the quarry would, among other things, help build new homes, schools and hospitals in the local area. It also said it takes enhancing the natural environment seriously, with restoration plans to increase biodiversity.