A disused sand quarry
A disused sand quarry one mile to the west of Westerham and south of the M25, an area of 46 hectares. The official and current vehicular entrance to the site is from the A25 between Moorhouse and Westerham.
Restoration after sand extraction
As a planning pre-condition of the extraction there is an obligation to restore the quarry. A Kent County Council approved plan has been in place since 1983. The plan (SE/83/1511) seeks ‘to secure an orderly and progressive pattern of working and restoration of the site and ‘its integration back into the pattern of land use of the locality’. This plan entails importing either nothing to the site or at the utmost, 300,000 cubic metres of material – less than half what the current application wants to bring in. Less than half the number of lorries.
Description of the current application and the proposer
Reference number. KCC/SE/0495/2018 “Stabilisation and restoration of Covers Farm Quarry using imported engineering materials to restore the site to grassland, including landscape planting and an ecological receptor area together with a temporary road and ancillary buildings , at Westerham Kent”. The proposer is Morants Promotions Ltd, for the Squerryes Estate, the owner of the site.
The Covers Farm site was turned down as a waste infill site when Kent County Council was looking for places in its Waste and Minerals Local Plan. At the consultations in 2015/6 and in 2019 KCC found that it already had sufficient sites without including this quarry.
What the new proposer wants to do
The current applicant claims that the 1983 plan is not “fit for purpose”, arguing that the steep faces of the quarry need to be stabilised and that the water that’s accumulated in the northern dip needs to be drained. The applicant’s claims can be refuted. For more on how the applicant seeks to justify this massive importation of material please click here .
Here’s the new proposal: Bring to the quarry site 0.8 million cubic metres of inert waste in 84,200 four-axle tipper trucks, either via a) Beggars Lane and the A25 through Brasted and Sundridge, coming from Junction 5 of the M25, or b) via the Main Road through Biggin Hill (A233) and on down Westerham Hill. A third route via Clark’s Lane (B2024) has also been mooted.
For more on the transportation and the stated sources of the material, please see below.
Both major approach routes will converge on the Beggars Lane BP Garage roundabout, from where the tipper trucks will travel along a specially constructed 4-metre wide ‘haul road’ between Churchill Primary School and the M25 motorway.
84,200 tipper trucks would traverse an especially created stoplight crossing on the Croydon Road, within the 60mph limit, just on the bend as the road emerges from underneath the motorway underpass.
The application estimates that the project will take 5-6 years. Operating hours are intended as being 7 am – 6pm on weekdays. This equates to a lorry moving every 3.3 minutes for this duration.
What are the proposed sources of the material?
The fill material is largely expected to come from the south-east London area, and will result in between150-200 two-way HGV movements over an 11 hour day for a period of five or six years. The individual routes will depend on the infill material source – Please see the following maps taken from the application and annotated by us. Key Routes B269, B2024, A25 (East), A233
The Transport Statement states that it is assumed that there will be a potential travel demand of between 14 and 18 twoway trips per hour, assuming an 11-hour working day, this corresponds to the forecast 150-200 daily lorry movements. This calculation assumes that deliveries to the site are evenly spread throughout the day. RPS Traffic Consultancy Services, conducting research for Westerham Town Council in connection with Covers Farm, estimate that deliveries are more likely to occur (70%) during the morning with as many as 30 lorries during the peak hour.
Paragraph 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework
‘Development should only be prevented or refused if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative effect on the road network would be severe. ‘ (NPPF, July 2018)
For more on the Covers Farm stabilisation/ restoration proposal please click here.
For information about the impact on air quality, noise and vibration please click here .