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Chalkpit Quarry

January 2014

CHALKPIT REVIEW STILL NOT DECIDED

Surrey County Council has still not made a decision on the Chalkpit Review. More than 160 letters from residents were sent in to the Review, in July 2012, objecting to the new planning conditions proposed by the quarry operator, Southern Gravel Limited.

In January 2013, one of the County Council's planning officers told us: 'We are still awaiting further survey information from the applicant... "

In April 2013, he told us: 'The further survey work took longer than expected, and the results are expected next month (May 2013). When we receive the information, we will go out for further consultation under Regulation 22 of the EIA Regulations, in addition we will be seeking a legal opinion on the ROMP (Review of Old Mineral Planning Permissions)...

In August, we asked again, querying why it is taking the County Council such an extraordinary length of time to make a decision. The planning officer said:

'It is important that we have all the facts before we can issue new working conditions for this active chalk quarry site, and we have been waiting on a geotechnical survey report from the applicant. The applicant's agent has also been on holiday and he responded to me on the 12 August 2013, stating that he would chase up the geotechnical consultants for the report. When we receive the report we will be able to conduct the further consultation, as I mentioned in my previous email on 23 April 2013. We have not sought the legal opinion, to which I referred to in my email. We cannot make a decision on this periodic review of the mineral permission until we have all the facts.'

So, after 18 months of waiting, there is still no sign of a decision. It seems totally unreasonable and unfair for the County Council to leave this hanging over people's heads, particularly for those residents who were for so long very badly affected by operations at the Chalkpit.


June 2012

CHALKPIT REVIEW - PLEASE WRITE IN BY 31 JULY 2012

The prospect of HGV hell returned to Oxted this week as the operator of Chalkpit Quarry submitted plans to carry on as before with unlimited numbers of quarry lorries.

Oxted & Limpsfield Residents Group (OLRG) has received details of Southern Gravel Limited's (SGL) proposed new planning conditions for the quarry which it is asking Surrey County Council to approve.

There is absolutely nothing in them to address the intolerable situation with quarry lorries. In fact, any lorry problem is strenuously denied. The documents state: 'it is not proposed to limit vehicle movements' and 'The continued operation of the site would be broadly at the same level as has occurred in the recent past.'

The company intends to start up its operations again as before. The new conditions it is proposing are almost identical to the old ones from 1997 which have caused problems over so many years.

Typical quotes from SGL's application are:

'Whilst the local road network comprising Barrow Green Road, Chalkpit Lane, Church Lane and East Hill Road may not be ideally suited to HGV access when compared with modern desirable standards, it is apparent that the current level of use has not led to a significant problem in terms of highway safety.'

'The highway assessment confirms that historic vehicle levels have been accommodated on the road network and that there is no material issue with the safety of the network.'

We think the many emails/letters sent in last year, objecting to SGL's request for the Review to be postponed, made a big difference.

Residents from all over Oxted bombarded the County Council, describing the nightmare of living with the quarry lorries.

They were not just standard letters but heartfelt, personal experiences. Some were quite disturbing with details of near misses, children at risk, verbal abuse by drivers and environmental damage. They painted a frightening picture of what has been, for many years, an intolerable situation.

SO PLEASE WRITE IN NOW. Email your comments to Alan Stones at Surrey County Council at MWCD@surreycc.gov.uk quoting SCC Ref 2012/0114/SJ or write to: Alan Stones, Planning Development Control Team Manager, Surrey County Council, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DY.

Please include:

' The controls you think are needed on the quarry's operations, e.g. limiting lorry numbers.
' Any specific evidence you have of highway problems - especially incidents - to contradict what the application is saying.
' Attach any photos; they are some of the best evidence of all.

Comments must be received by 31 July. If you are emailing comments, we'd be grateful if you could copy us in at oxted.residents@btinternet.com

OLRG will be objecting to SGL's plans and putting forward proposals for new conditions based on what residents want brought in.

Surrey County Council is currently carrying out a review of controls put on the quarry 15 years ago. Residents say these controls are hopelessly inadequate, allowing uncontrolled numbers of monster 32 tonne trucks to thunder along small country roads. The HGVs cause extreme road safety dangers to schoolchildren, pedestrians, horseriders and motorists, in what is a heavily populated residential area, as well as wrecking the local environment. There is an infant school, a junior school and the largest secondary school in Surrey (2,200 pupils) very close to the lorry route.

The full details of the application, running to hundreds of pages, can be read on Tandridge Council's website by inputting the reference number 2012/902 into the planning applications page. Or you can go to the Council offices in Oxted and read them. The Transport Statement says the quarry lorries have never had any serious impact or caused safety problems.

The next review is in 15 years' time so it's very important to get proper conditions now. The quarry has planning permission until 2042.

Residents have been campaigning for years to end the dangers caused by the uncontrolled numbers of quarry lorries. It's a miracle that no-one has been killed or seriously injured.

For more coverage of the Chalkpit review story click here and click here

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June 2012

CHALKPIT REVIEW LATEST

The review of planning controls on Chalkpit Quarry is now underway. Last Friday (8 June) the quarry operator, Southern Gravel Limited (SGL), submitted its scheme of new conditions to Surrey County Council (SCC) for approval.

Consultation on the proposed scheme has not yet begun and SCC says it doesn't yet know when that will happen. It says: 'Formal notification of neighbours and other interested groups will follow in due course.'

Hopefully, everyone who wrote in July 2011 to object to the postponement of the review will be notified individually by SCC. In any case, as soon as OLRG is notified, we will let residents know so that they can comment. OLRG will also be sending in comments, and these will include the additional controls that residents want to see brought in. After years of problems, the review is a chance, at last, to get proper conditions put on the quarry's planning consent.

It's been all quiet on the quarry lorry front for some time now but they could start up again, as before, at any time so we think it's very important to take part in the consultation when it comes.

Last July, after a blitz of letters from horrified residents, Surrey's minerals bosses gave the go ahead for a review of planning controls on the quarry. SGL had applied for a 10 year postponement saying the existing conditions were 'entirely satisfactory.' Since then, SGL has made two further requests to have the review postponed - both have been refused by SCC.

It's been a tremendous result for people power. Residents from all over Oxted bombarded the County Council with emails and letters, describing the nightmare of living with the quarry lorries and explaining why a postponement of the review should be refused.

They were not just standard letters but heartfelt, personal experiences. Some were quite disturbing with details of near misses, children at risk, verbal abuse by drivers and environmental damage. They painted a frightening picture of what has been, for many years, an intolerable situation.

The County Council's refusal letter to Southern Gravel said the existing conditions are not satisfactory and that: ''.. there is extensive evidence of concern from local residents with respect to the impact of HGV traffic on the locality and many letters of objection have been received to this application to postpone.'

The letter said the Chalkpit has had a history of complaints about HGV traffic since Southern Gravel took over the site in 2006.

It's really good news that local views have been listened to click here

All the letters from residents gave a clear idea of the new controls that people want to see - things like limits on lorry numbers, size of lorries, hours of operating, intervals between lorries, speed limits, routing, environmental safeguards and, very importantly, proper enforcement of any agreed new scheme.

Please do send us details of anything you think should be included by emailing oxted.residents@btinternet.com or writing to: OLRG, PO Box 233, Oxted Post Office, Station Road West, Oxted, RH8 9EH

Residents have been campaigning for years to end the dangers caused by the uncontrolled numbers of quarry lorries. It's a miracle that no-one has been killed or seriously injured.

The number of lorries is uncontrolled because no condition, limiting numbers, was attached to the 1997 planning consent. HGVs travel through a heavily populated residential area which includes an infant school, a junior school and the largest secondary school in Surrey. As well as schoolchildren being put at risk, so too are pedestrians, horseriders and motorists.

For more coverage of the Chalkpit review story click here and click here

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September 2011

CHALKPIT REVIEW TO GO AHEAD

After a blitz of letters from horrified residents, Surrey's minerals bosses have given the go ahead for a review of planning controls on Chalkpit Quarry. The operator, Southern Gravel, had applied for a 10 year postponement saying the existing conditions were 'entirely satisfactory'.

It's a tremendous result for people power. Residents from all over Oxted bombarded the County Council with emails and letters, describing the nightmare of living with the quarry lorries and explaining why a postponement of the review should be refused.

They were not just standard letters but heartfelt, personal experiences. Some were quite disturbing with details of near misses, children at risk, verbal abuse by drivers and environmental damage. They painted a frightening picture of what has been, for many years, an intolerable situation.

The County Council's refusal letter to Southern Gravel says the existing conditions are not satisfactory and that: ''.. there is extensive evidence of concern from local residents with respect to the impact of HGV traffic on the locality and many letters of objection have been received to this application to postpone.'

The letter says the Chalkpit has had a history of complaints about HGV traffic since Southern Gravel took over the site in 2006.

It's really good news that local views have been listened to click here

What happens next

Southern Gravel has until 11 June to submit a scheme of new conditions for the Chalkpit, to the County Council, for approval. If no scheme is submitted then the existing planning permission will come to an end, apart from the requirement for any restoration of the site or aftercare.

If a scheme is submitted, residents will be consulted on it and this will be a chance, at last, to get proper conditions put on the consent. OLRG will, with the help of its lawyers, draw up a response which will include the additional controls that residents want to see brought in.

All the letters have given a good idea of the controls that are wanted - things like limits on lorry numbers, size of lorries, hours of operating, intervals between lorries, speed limits, routing, environmental safeguards and, very importantly, proper enforcement of any agreed new scheme.

Please do send us details of anything you think should be included by emailing oxted.residents@btinternet.com or writing to: OLRG, PO Box 233, Oxted Post Office, Station Road West, Oxted, RH8 9EH

Residents have been campaigning for years to end the dangers caused by the uncontrolled numbers of quarry lorries. It's a miracle that no-one has been killed or seriously injured.

The number of lorries is uncontrolled because no condition, limiting numbers, was attached to the 1997 planning consent. HGVs travel through a heavily populated residential area which includes an infant school, a junior school and the largest secondary school in Surrey. As well as schoolchildren being put at risk, so too are pedestrians, horseriders and motorists.

See "Latest News" for coverage of the Chalkpit review story.

Also click here and

click here

What you can do:

Reporting dangerous driving:

Surrey Police: 0845 1252222 (note registration number)

Reporting other highways concerns:

Surrey County Council:
Ian Gray, Enforcement and Monitoring Team Leader 020 8541 9423
Alan Stones, Planning Development Control Team 020 8541 9426

Reporting incidents to do with infill, spillages, damage to local environment etc:

Environment Agency:
24hr Incident Hotline 0800 807060
(note registration number, contractor, time/date of incident, description of driver if possible)

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August 2011

CHALKPIT POSTPONEMENT REFUSED

After a blitz of letters from horrified residents, Surrey's minerals bosses have refused the application to postpone the Chalkpit review. It means the review of the planning conditions for the quarry will go ahead as scheduled.

It's a tremendous result for people power and reflects the huge response to the news that Southern Gravel was trying to get the review postponed for ten years. In the last two weeks, residents have bombarded the County Council with emails and letters, detailing why a postponement should be refused.

These were not just standard letters but heartfelt, personal experiences. Some of them were quite disturbing with details of near misses, children at risk, verbal abuse by drivers and environmental damage. They painted a frightening picture of just how bad the situation is.

The County Council's refusal letter to Southern Gravel says the existing conditions are not satisfactory and adds: ''.. there is extensive evidence of concern from local residents with respect to the impact of HGV traffic on the locality and many letters of objection have been received to this application to postpone.'

It's really good news that local views have been listened to click here

What happens next

Southern Gravel has until 11 June 2012 to submit a scheme of new conditions for the Chalkpit, to the County Council, for approval. If no scheme is submitted then the existing planning permission will come to an end, apart from the requirement for any restoration of the site or aftercare.

If a scheme is submitted, residents will be consulted on it and this will be a chance, at last, to get proper conditions put on the consent. OLRG will, with the help of its lawyers, draw up a response which will include the additional controls that residents want to see brought in.

All the letters have given a good idea of the controls that are wanted - things like limits on lorry numbers, size of lorries, hours of operating, intervals between lorries, speed limits, routing, environmental safeguards and, very importantly, proper enforcement of any agreed new scheme.

Please do send us details of anything you think should be included by emailing oxted.residents@btinternet.com or writing to: OLRG, PO Box 233, Oxted Post Office, Station Road West, Oxted, RH8 9EH

Residents have been campaigning for years to end the dangers posed by the uncontrolled numbers of quarry lorries. It's a miracle that no-one has been killed or seriously injured.

The Chalkpit has been very busy lately and many members have been in contact about near misses, dangerous driving and abusive behaviour. Recently, one lady had a shopping bag knocked out of her hand by a lorry which mounted the pavement and there was a close shave with a mother and toddler when the child bent down to pick something up from the pavement.

The number of lorries is uncontrolled because no condition, limiting numbers, was attached to the 1997 planning consent. HGVs travel through a heavily populated residential area which includes an infant school, a junior school and the largest secondary school in Surrey. As well as schoolchildren, pedestrians, horseriders and motorists are all at risk.

To read and listen to recent coverage of this story see the first two "headlines" on the website home page.

Also click here and

click here

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July 2011

CHALKPIT QUARRY - WRITE IN NOW

Residents fear 10 more years of HGV hell after the Chalkpit Quarry operator applied for a postponement of a review of the planning conditions.

Southern Gravel Limited has asked Surrey County Council to postpone the review, due in June next year, for 10 years - until June 2022.

The County Council is now deciding whether to allow or refuse this application.

If it is allowed, things will carry on as they are with intolerable numbers of HGVs and extreme road safety dangers. It is a miracle that no-one has been seriously injured or killed by the lorries.

If it is refused, there will be a review of the planning permission in June 2012 with a chance, at last, to get proper conditions restricting the lorries.

The County Council has decided it will not consult the public about the application for a postponement. We have asked the council to reconsider, but it has said no.

Therefore, the only way to make public opposition known is to email the men in charge as soon as possible, before any decision is made.

Please write in because residents have had years of hell from these lorries and now the chance to put a stop to it is under threat. If you want the application refused please email: alan.stones@surreycc.gov.uk and stephen.jenkins@surreycc.gov.uk saying why you think the existing situation should not continue. (we'd be grateful if you would copy in OLRG at oxted.residents@btinternet.com)

The Chalkpit has been very busy lately and many members have been in contact about near misses, dangerous driving and abusive behaviour.

If you have suffered any of these things, please include the details in your email.

The numbers of lorries currently using the Chalkpit are uncontrolled because Surrey County Council did not attach any condition, limiting numbers, to the 1997 planning consent. The route to the quarry takes HGVs through a heavily populated residential area which includes an infant school, a junior school and the largest secondary school in Surrey. Residents say that, as well as schoolchildren, pedestrians, horseriders and motorists are all at risk.

What you can do:

Reporting dangerous driving:

Surrey Police: 0845 1252222 (note registration number)

Reporting other highways concerns:

Surrey County Council:
Ian Gray, Enforcement and Monitoring Team Leader 0208 541 9423
Alan Stones, Planning Development Control Team 0208 541 9426

Reporting incidents to do with infill, spillages, damage to local environment etc:

Environment Agency:
24hr Incident Hotline 0800 807060
(note registration number, contractor, time/date of incident, description of driver if possible)

Making general comments on your experience of living with the lorries and how you think next year's review can improve things:

Nick Skellett, Surrey County Councillor for Oxted: email n.skellett@surreycc.gov.uk

Martin Fisher, Tandridge District Councillor, Oxted North: email cllr.martin.fisher@tandridgedc.gov.uk

The review should be a chance to improve the situation so do make Surrey County Council fully aware of your problems and your expectations.

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April 2011

REVIEW OF PLANNING PERMISSION

In June 2012 there is a chance to review the planning permission for Chalkpit Quarry and to introduce new conditions. In May 2012 there will be a consultation period when residents can make their views known. Hopefully this will lead to an improvement in the current intolerable situation. Surrey County Council is now in the process of giving notice of the review to the Chalkpit owners.

The current permit, issued in 1997, does not include conditions restricting the number of lorries bringing infill to the site on a daily basis, their size or their routes to and from the site. Surrey County Council should have imposed such conditions but didn't. We hope the review will put this right.

Many residents have been in contact recently about the fact that the Chalkpit has been particularly busy this year. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of lorries, including drivers using inappropriate routes and driving in a dangerous manner.

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Background

The Oxted chalk pit has an old planning consent for unlimited extraction of chalk originating from an interim development order in 1947 which was "modernised" in 1997 by adding certain controls such as times of operations, access design and protection of the public highway.

In 2006 the Environment Agency issued a waste disposal licence to Southern Gravel for importing 100,000 tons a year of inert materials including construction rubble. This conflicts with the planning consent in as much that the consent restricts infilling of the quarry to clean soil or natural minerals (such as chalk) but excludes construction rubble.

Complaints from residents began in June 2007 at a time when the railway bridge at the southern end of Chalkpit Lane was closed for repairs and traffic had to divert through Gordons Way and other residential roads. The hope then was that the opening of the bridge on 14 August would alleviate some of these problems. But it is now seen that the main cause of the problem was not the diversion but the sheer scale of HGV movements and the inconsiderate behaviour of many drivers. At their peak there were 80 separate lorry movements a day.

A number of meetings were held with County Councillors and Highways officials to discuss the problems and to explore the options available to eradicate or at the very least alleviate the nuisance caused by the lorries. However, Surrey County Council's view was that there was very little that could legally be done to stop operations at the quarry. They said that the best that could be done would be to introduce traffic calming measures to reduce the speed of the lorries.

The Current Situation

Operations at the Oxted Quarry increased significantly last year and many more Heavy Goods Vehicles began accessing the site. Local residents and members expressed concerns and the Local Committee considered the matter on 7 May 2008. A further independent study has now been carried out and an Investigation Report has been produced for consideration by the Local Committee.

The Investigation Report recommends a staged approach including widening the quarry access, signalising Chalkpit Lane close to the bridge arch, providing traffic calming along Chalkpit Lane and re-routing outward HGVs via an improved Barrow Green Road. The estimated cost of these measures exceeds available budgets. It is therefore recommended that the measures be progressed subject to the availability of funding in the future.

The investigation report does not recommend proceeding with the one-way proposal for the northern section of Chalkpit Lane or the haul road leading on to The Ridge.

To view the whole report click here