Relief at quarries decision

A huge sigh of relief was felt across Norfolk yesterday as a raft of proposed sites for waste tips and quarries were revealed as being deemed unsuitable by planning chiefs.

A huge sigh of relief was felt across Norfolk yesterday as a raft of proposed sites for waste tips and quarries were revealed as being deemed unsuitable by planning chiefs.

A shortlist of 41 so called minerals and waste sites thought to suitable for future development have been drawn-up from a long list of more than 160.

However, a further 48 have been listed as having potential for development, providing alterations are made to the proposals.

It has taken more than a years' work for officials at Norfolk County Council to filter through the thousands of comments made by the public on the proposals in 2008, as part of their statutory duty to plan for where they can get sand and gravel from and put landfill sites.

Campaigns sprung up in villages across Norfolk against proposed quarry and landfill sites on their doorsteps when an initial consultation was launched.

However, while some are now feeling relief, others are now considering their options.

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At East Winch, near King's Lynn, and Beetley and Beeston near Dereham, sites fought against last year were retained in the shortlist of acceptable sites.

Neil Paddock, of Residents Against Silica Extraction (RASE) at East Winch, said he was disappointed a site there they had fought against had been deemed suitable.

“We will need to reconvene the original core group of RASE and see what where we go from here. I'm not sure what further we can do.”

Campaign groups in Haddiscoe and Fritton, near Yarmouth, Bridgham, near Thetford, and Bintree, near Dereham, learned the sites worrying them have been red-listed as not acceptable.

Bryan Leigh, parish clerk for Beetley parish council, said they were pleased a number of sites had been deemed unsuitable along the Fakenham Road but that they would be discussing other sites at their committee meeting on Wednesday.

Chris Langford, who led campaigns to save woods put forward by the Forestry Commission at Bintree, said: “We are very relieved.”

He said the site there would have affected the river Wensum and resulted in the loss of a popular woodland.

“All this to make a quick buck,” he added. “I feel for the people who have had areas shortlisted.”

Keith Nunn, chairman of Fritton Parish Council, said: “The planners' recommendations have yet to be ratified by the cabinet and any anticipation of the outcome would be premature.

“But we are of course delighted at the prospective outcome and believe it would be a victory for common sense.”

Rory Kelsey, chairman of the Stopit campaign, launched at Haddiscoe against a planned gravel pit, said they were cautiously optimistic having learned a site at the village had been deemed unsuitable.

The shortlist, which includes 16 new sites not in the original long list, is to be put to the county council's cabinet on Monday. They are due to ratify it to go out to another round of public consultation between October and December this year. The 16 new sites will then go through a further round of consultation in 2010.

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