Second Public Inquiry 5th November 2024

The Planning Inspectorate has given notice that there will be a second Inquiry into the proposed Quarry.

Stop The Quarry At Lea Castle Farm

The fight to keep this Greenbelt land continues!

Please help us fight our case at the Public Inquiry

Direct contributions to:
Account Name: Stop the Quarry Group
Account No: 23001660
Sort Code: 20-98-68

Or by our Gofundme page

Widespread exposure to harmful mineral dust for residents and children

Spread the word – download this Flyer and pass it on

We are a group of concerned residents who oppose the proposed sand & gravel quarry at Lea Castle Farm, Kidderminster – situated alongside the A449 (Wolverhampton Road) and B4189 (Wolverley Road).

 

The Planning Inspectorate has now set 5th November 2024 for a second Inquiry into the Quarry proposal.

I think that this has already been posted here but we just heard today that the next inquiry will start on 5th November and has been currently pencilled for 6 days. This is the same length of the last one!
This gives us plenty more preparation time and time to add to our expert witnesses to really hammer home our case for what is, hopefully, the final time.
To help us do this in the best possible way will, unfortunately, involve some significant expense. The more we have the more experts we can get and the wider the subject matter we can get them to cover. We also have our barrister to pay too.
The sooner we get funds the better so that we know what we can afford to do. I know you have all been generous in the past and I am really sorry to ask again but we want to make sure we win this after such a long fight and so much effort on behalf of so many of you.
There are two ways you can give. Simply click on the go fund me page below or direct to the bank account details, also below. Anything you donate direct to the bank is 100% ours. Go Fund Me take a commission.
Put the date in your diary now, 5th November as we want an even bigger show of support than last time and if you can make a donation please do.
We can do this…..
Mike Lord

These flyers will be distributed locally, click here to see the flyer.       Image of flyer

Read the notice of a second Inquiry from the Planning Inspectorate.

Read the High Court Ruling of 16th November 2023 on the Planning Inquiry.

Read NRS Aggregates Ltd. High Court Application, and supporting documents.

Read Mark Garnier MP’s Letter to Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Read the Original Planning Inquiry Decision.

Documents relating to the appeal can be viewed on the Council’s website: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/leacastlequarry.

Timeline:

Following the submission of the Scoping request to Worcestershire County Council in April 2018, and two public consultations held in Cookley and Wolverley in June 2019, this campaign group was formed in readiness to fight a planning application which was then submitted in January 2020.

On 30th April 16th July and 19th July 2021 NRS Aggregates Ltd wrote to Worcestershire County Council submitting additional information to further support their planning application.

On 27th May 2022 Worcestershire County Council Planning Committee voted AGAINST the planning application by a slim majority. We thought we had won, but……

On 7th November 2022 NRS Aggregates submitted an Appeal against the decision, and asked for a Planning Inquiry to be held, which sat from 28th February to 8th March 2023, and published its decision to dismiss the appeal on 5th May 2023.

On 5th May 2023 Planning Inspector Stephen Normington Dismissed the Appeal by NRS Aggregates Ltd. against the Worcestershire County Council decision to reject planning permission for a Sand & Gravel Quarry at Lea Castle Farm. This means, unless NRS Aggregates take this to the High Court, there will be NO QUARRY! (we thought….again….).

On 15th June 2023 NRS Aggregates Ltd. made an application to the High Court for a Judicial Review of the Planning Inspector’s decision in an attempt to have it overturned – a process that was concluded on the 16th November 2023 with the High Court ruling that the decision was invalid on a point of law. So the Quarry is once more a possibility.

On 16th November 2023 the High Court ruled that the Planning Inspector had erred on a point of law, and quashed his decision.

We are a group of concerned residents who oppose the proposed sand & gravel quarry at Lea Castle Farm, Kidderminster – situated alongside the A449 (Wolverhampton Road) and B4189 (Wolverley Road).

 

The Planning Inspectorate has now set 5th November 2024 for another Public Inquiry.

I think that this has already been posted here but we just heard today that the next inquiry will start on 5th November and has been currently pencilled for 6 days. This is the same length of the last one!
This gives us plenty more preparation time and time to add to our expert witnesses to really hammer home our case for what is, hopefully, the final time.
To help us do this in the best possible way will, unfortunately, involve some significant expense. The more we have the more experts we can get and the wider the subject matter we can get them to cover. We also have our barrister to pay too.
The sooner we get funds the better so that we know what we can afford to do. I know you have all been generous in the past and I am really sorry to ask again but we want to make sure we win this after such a long fight and so much effort on behalf of so many of you.
There are two ways you can give. Simply click on the go fund me page below or direct to the bank account details, also below. Anything you donate direct to the bank is 100% ours. Go Fund Me take a commission.
Put the date in your diary now, 5th November as we want an even bigger show of support than last time and if you can make a donation please do.
We can do this…..
Mike Lord

These flyers will be distributed locally, click here to see the flyer.  Image of flyer

Read the notice of a second Inquiry from the Planning Inspectorate.

Read the High Court Ruling of 16th November 2023 on the Planning Inquiry.

Read NRS Aggregates Ltd. High Court Application for Judicial Review, and supporting documents.

Read Mark Garnier MP’s Letter to Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Read the original Planning Inquiry Appeal Decision.

Documents relating to the appeal can be viewed on the Council’s website: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/leacastlequarry.

Timeline:

Following the submission of the Scoping request to Worcestershire County Council in April 2018, and two public consultations held in Cookley and Wolverley in June 2019, this campaign group was formed in readiness to fight a planning application which was then submitted in January 2020.

On 30th April 16th July and 19th July 2021 NRS Aggregates Ltd wrote to Worcestershire County Council submitting additional information to further support their planning application.

On 27th March 2022 Worcestershire County Council Planning Committee voted AGAINST the planning application by a slim majority. We thought we had won, but……

On 7th November 2022 NRS Aggregates submitted an Appeal against the decision, and asked for a Planning Inquiry to be held, which sat from 28th February to 8th March 2023, and published its decision to dismiss the appeal on 5th May 2023.

On 5th May 2023 Planning Inspector Stephen Normington Dismissed the Appeal by NRS Aggregates Ltd. against the Worcestershire County Council decision to reject planning permission for a Sand & Gravel Quarry at Lea Castle Farm. This means, unless NRS Aggregates take this to the High Court, there will be NO QUARRY! (…. We thought…..again…).

On 15th June 2023 NRS Aggregates Ltd. made an application to the High Court for a Judicial Review of the Planning Inspector’s decision in an attempt to have it overturned – a process that completed on the 16th November 2023 with the High Couirt ruling that the decision was invalid on a point of law. So the Quarry is once more a possibility.

On the 16th November 2023 the High Court ruled that the Planning inspector had erred oin a point of law, and quashed the findings.

APPEAL LAUNCHED AFTER QUARRY REFUSED

The quarry could still be allowed to go ahead despite being thrown out by councillors.

Worcestershire County Council’s planning committee narrowly rejected a plan to build a three million tonne sand and gravel quarry at Lea Castle Farm off Wolverley Road in May but an appeal has now been launched with the government’s planning inspector in a bid to get the decision overturned.
The plan by NRS Aggregates would see 100,000 tonnes of sand and gravel extracted every year for the next decade at a ten-acre site around 900 metres away from Wolverley.
The planning committee was divided with some calling for support including planning chair Cllr Ian Hardiman, who represents the Cookley,Wolverley and Wribbenhall division where the quarry would have been built, saying the digging would be “only temporary”. Committee vice-chair Linda Robinson also threw her support behind the plan saying the county needed new homes and it would be better if the materials to build them were obtained in the county rather than delivered from elsewhere.
However, several other councillors spoke against the plan including Cllr Chris Rogers, who represents Stourport-on-Severn, who said he could not see how the quarry would bring any benefit to the local community or economy and should not be built near thousands of potential homes.
Cllr Marcus Hart, who represents the neighbouring Chaddesley division, said there were “concrete” reasons to reject the plan and he had “grave and profound concerns” about the green belt and the thousands of residents who live near the site. Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier previously spoke out against the “hated” plans and said he would work with cross-party colleagues to “change the laws on how much dust is acceptable around communities”.

 

– Wolverley and Cookley Matters January 2023

Local MP Mark Garnier and the Wyre Forest District, Parish and County Councils have already objected to the quarry but NRS Aggregates now want to overturn local decisions using the Planning Inspectorate. We have set out some key points which you may find useful below.

Watch a clip from BBC Midlands Today about the Lea Castle Farm Quarry below:

Watch a clip from ITV News about the Lea Castle Farm Quarry below:

Watch a clip from Mark Garnier talking to Westminster Hall about Lea Castle Quarry:

IMPACT

  • The planning application has already been rejected by Wolverley and Cookley Parish Council, Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire County Council who have local knowledge of the area and impact to residents, schools, business, and the environment.
  • NRS has submitted more than 30 new documents. The applicant should be forced to produce a single document as required by law.
  • The scoping report is now nearly five years out of date and supporting reports such as those relating to highways and the environment are now nearly two years out of date. This proposal is not being considered on information that is current.
  • Due to the pandemic the majority of those on the WCC planning committee have not even visited the site.
  • They state they propose to infill the quarry with inert material (this is tipping or landfill).
  • NRS are trying to justify their damage to the environment by submitting pretty pictures of families picnicking ignoring noise, dust, and traffic congestion.
  • There is no attempt to justify the traffic chaos and danger to local residents and schoolchildren from the HGV’s – over 150 movements per day not including traffic to infill.
  • The economic argument is that 11 jobs will be created but this ignores the loss of value to our homes or the negative affect on new property delivery, losses through congestion or the cost of poor health.
  • There is a conflict in policy between Wyre Forest/Homes England’s push for new homes at Lea Castle Hospital and NRS’s quarry works within a few hundred metres that has been ignored.
  • NRS relies on out-of-date workplace health guidance ignoring the huge risk to local residents’ health from airborne sand particles – dust. This is silica dust that causes silicosis a deadly lung disease. Health Authorities in the UK and around the world say dust from quarries can be deadly. This can result in silicosis which can kill people (Click here to find out more)
  • Destruction of Lea Castle Farms beautiful unspoilt countryside which will essentially become an industrialised area, a blot on the landscape, which is widely used by our local community and others from further afield.
  • The duration of the quarrying has already increased from 10 years to 11 years. If approved what is to stop the duration increasing further?
  • Widespread exposure to harmful mineral dust for residents and children attending the five schools within less than a mile from the proposed site.
  • Erosion and damage to local roads and potential for burst water mains.
  • A huge risk of irreversibly polluting the water supply to the villages of Cookley, Wolverley and parts of Kidderminster.
  • Impact on local businesses surrounding the proposed site.
  • Impact on the historical landscape and features, including removal of approximately 100m of boundary wall dating back to 1762
  • Disruption of public footpaths which have joined the villages of Cookley and Wolverley since 1750. Removal and damage of protected trees.

IMPACT

  • The planning application has already been rejected by Wolverley and Cookley Parish Council, Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire County Council who have local knowledge of the area and impact to residents, schools, business, and the environment.
  • NRS has submitted more than 30 new documents. The applicant should be forced to produce a single document as required by law.
  • The scoping report is now nearly five years out of date and supporting reports such as those relating to highways and the environment are now nearly two years out of date. This proposal is not being considered on information that is current.
  • Due to the pandemic the majority of those on the WCC planning committee have not even visited the site.
  • They state they propose to infill the quarry with inert material (this is tipping or landfill).
  • NRS are trying to justify their damage to the environment by submitting pretty pictures of families picnicking ignoring noise, dust, and traffic congestion.
  • There is no attempt to justify the traffic chaos and danger to local residents and schoolchildren from the HGV’s – over 150 movements per day not including traffic to infill.
  • The economic argument is that 11 jobs will be created but this ignores the loss of value to our homes or the negative effect on new property delivery, losses through congestion or the cost of poor health.
  • There is a conflict in policy between Wyre Forest/Homes England’s push for new homes at Lea Castle Hospital and NRS’s quarry works within a few hundred metres that has been ignored.
  • NRS relies on out-of-date workplace health guidance ignoring the huge risk to local residents’ health from airborne sand particles – dust. This is silica dust that causes silicosis, a deadly lung disease. Health Authorities in the UK and around the world say dust from quarries can be deadly. This can result in silicosis which can kill people (Click here to find out more)
  • Destruction of Lea Castle Farms beautiful unspoilt countryside which will essentially become an industrialised area, a blot on the landscape. This is an area which is widely used by our local community and other from further afield.
  • The duration of the quarrying has already increased from 10 years to 11 years. If approved what is to stop the duration increasing further?
  • Widespread exposure to harmful mineral dust for residents and children attending the five schools within less than a mile from the proposed site.
  • Erosion and damage to local roads and potential for burst water mains.
  • A huge risk of irreversibly polluting the water supply to the villages of Cookley, Wolverley and parts of Kidderminster.
  • Impact on local businesses surrounding the proposed site.
  • Impact on the historical landscape and features, including removal of approximately 100m of boundary wall dating back to 1762.
  • Disruption of public footpaths which have joined the villages of Cookley and Wolverley since 1750. Removal and damage of protected trees.
Quarry dust cloud area

This plan shows the quarry marked in red. The prevailing wind is from the southwest (but obviously can blow in any direction). This shows how the whole of Cookley will be continuously drenched in silica sand which is known to cause silicosis, a potentially fatal disease. There are 2,500 people living in Cookley who will be affected and a further 4,500 in Wolverley and Broardwaters, and the thousands more on the new Lea Castle Hospital site developments (600 homes now with a possible 800 to follow), who will also be affected as the winds change.

We think this is unacceptable