Covers Farm: Application KCC/SE/0495/2018 Reconsultation open until 16th Feb.

Morants Promotions Ltd. have submitted further documents regarding their application for the “stabilisation”/restoration of the Covers Farm Quarry to Kent County Council Minerals and Waste Planning .  This further consultation arises because of this new material.

Please see this at  www.kentplanningapplications.co.uk  Application ref. KCC/SE/0495/2018    Having trouble finding it?  Email info@keepwesterhamgreen.co.uk

It is now likely that the decision could be made is the KCC Planning Applications Committee Meeting on Wednesday 13th May in Maidstone.

Some key points from the further information:

  1. The further information uses the phrase  ‘ minimum 800,000 cubic metres. If this application is approved and the scheme gets started, Kent County Council won’t be able to say No to  more importation, ie even more lorries.
  2.  The further information does not properly consider other sensible engineering techniques to address the superficial slope failure. Regarding the technique used to address slope failure at Junction 6 of the M25 – a row of submerged bored piles – it quickly claims that is is too costly and unfeasible, despite it being less onerous for residents and road users. It would take 9 months and require 400 lorries.
  3.  The further information includes a Routing Agreement in which it KCC Conservation Advice recommends that Brasted has no more than 100 lorry movements per day from this project. The result: North Westerham will have to take up any lorry journeys  above the figure of 100 per day.
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Proposed route of tipper trucks to and from Covers Farm Quarry. 100 movements each weekday to and from M25 Junction 5 through Sundridge and Brasted then via Beggars Lane. ‘Routeing agreement’ doc states this is the absolute maximum through Brasted. 100 truck movements via Biggin Hill and up and down Westerham Hill. All of above continue westward onto the “temporary” haul road to arrive at the red arrow. Possibility of 15% of this coming in via Tatsfield and the Croydon Rd. A stoplight is proposed approximately where the tip of the arrow is.

What is already known from the application

Morants Promotions Ltd started this planning application in 2018, Application reference KCC/SE/0495/2018

One truck every 3 minutes 7am – 6pm each weekday

The application involves  84,200 extra tipper trucks bringing construction waste along local roads. That is,  3 trucks per minute for 11 hours each weekday, for 5 years or more.

Claims made by the proposer

The application claims that the walls of the northern lake are unstable. The Gault Clay that once capped the top of the face has slid down. It’s assumed that this clay is now lining the lake, preventing it from draining into the sand beneath. Morants’ (Squerryes’) engineer claims that there is a risk of the lake overflowing from its north-eastern rim, causing flooding in that area, though he declines to give any time frame for this. (‘Drop-in’ meeting, Dec. 2018)

It also alleges that the possibility of  failure in the Gault Clay slope could present a risk to the M25, which at its nearest point runs 60 metres to the north of the quarry. Highways England, the agency in charge of motorways,  have no such risk logged.   They would however want to see a risk register and thorough monitoring of the risks arising from this project.

The answer put forward

Morants’ engineer proposes to build huge dykes, each 20 metres in width across the top, compartmentalising the site into four sections. Please note the extent to which the underpinning structure traces the proposed line of the western end of the bypass in the Which Way Westerham Masterplan with referencee to the illustration below.

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Diagram from Which Way Westerham Masterplan showing proposed route of relief road across Covers Farm where it would rejoin the A25.

The dykes are to be built up of end-tipped granular material in a gradual process of displacing the water. The ‘compartments’ would then also be gradually filled, as we say, displacing the water and channelling it to the southern part of the site.

On-site materials combined with imported material would be use to contour the site into the final landscaping.

KWG comment – Here’s a statistic for you: lowering the contour across the entire site  by 150 mm would reduce the infill required by 64,000 cubic metres, or  about 7,000 fewer lorries on local roads.

The 800,000 cubic metre figure which is the ‘requirement’ for imported material comes from a simple “before” and after” comparison of the estimated volume of sand/clay/debris in the pit and the final contouring envisaged by the proposer’s consultants.  It makes no allowance from the fact that much of the material would need to be compacted – therefore more material will be needed, resulting in more tipper trucks on local roads.

The chosen approach requires vast quantities of granular material. Bought to a specification, this is expensive. But Squerryes’ consultant’s  stated preference (‘Drop-in’ meeting, Dec. 2018) is to import construction waste and screen it on site. At the ‘Drop-in’ meeting it was said that from such  waste, you would derive 20% in  granular material. The rest of the  material would be used elsewhere on site.  Importing construction waste is economically favourable, because the importers pay you.

The proposed ‘temporary’ road or ‘haul’ road

To spare Westerham High Street from all these lorries, Morants proposes a  ‘temporary’ road  between the BP garage roundabout and the Croydon Road. The Further Information  continues to suggest that this is a single width road with passing places.

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Dangerous convergence at the BP garage roundabout

Please see Home page. The haul road is single width. The traffic figures suggest that there would be a lorry every three minutes. Where do the arriving lorries, waiting to join the road, park up?

Danger of lorries on Westerham Hill

Please see Home page.

Croydon Road – dangerous stop light location

Where the 200 daily lorry journeys would intercept the Croydon Road, at Point B above, a stop light is proposed. You can see that this in the 60 mph limit, on a bend and emerging from the M25 underpass. A lorry every three minutes. The haul road is wide enough for single file  traffic only. We shall leave you to comment on the risks of all of this.

Please see more on Home page.

Proximity of haul road to the M25 embankment

Squerryes were asked to look at the risk to the M25 embankment slope posed by the proximity of the haul road.  In Squerryes’ application their engineer has reported on the stability assessment he has carried out. Keep Westerham Green is currently looking at this.

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