A letter from CLAG2 the Campaign for Laleham Against Gravel
The Manor Farm application was finally heard on Wednesday, 7th January by the Surrey Planning Committee.
Unfortunately the decision went against us by 7 (which included the chairman) votes to 5.
We had 4 residents and 3 County Councillors who were all able to speak on our behalf, to whom we give special thanks. All our speakers got their points across very eloquently, so much so that one of the counsellors commented that he had been persuaded to change his vote from in favour to against.
The only thing we can do now is monitor the work when it starts and notify Surrey & our councillors of any deviations or concerns. Thank you for your support over the last 5 years.
CLAG2 - the Campaign for Laleham Against Gravel have been fronting local opinion about pending gravel extraction at the Manor Farm site, (roughly between the Ashford Road and Pavilion Gardens)for 5 long years.
After many seemingly unreasonable delays, objections were finally heard by Surrey County Council Planning and Regulatory committee on 7th January 2015.
Not surprisingly, the decision of 7 out of 12 councillors - none of whom live anywhere near Laleham - was to dismiss local opposition and approve the application for extraction to go ahead.
The CLAG2 committee have put in some serious hard work mustering local objections and framing the opposition. The process was lengthy and complicated and weighted heavily against local residents. If the application had been turned down for example, Brett Aggregates Ltd, (the developers), had a right of appeal. However having been voted down and dismissed by 7 out of 5, remote Surrey Councillors, the residents have no such right.
There are a number of devastating blows that come with the approval of this application, not just the noise and the dirt of the work itself. I would like to highlight just three...
There is no reasonable end date proposed to the work. There is some vague mention of 2033, but even this is meaningless as Brett Aggregates Ltd have a history of overrunning on previous applications and are basically allowed to turn production off and on to match demand. I expect all of the councillors who voted for this will be dead before the site closes - and with “restoration” approved in the form of a massive, utterly useless lake, this scar in our village is basically permanent.
The restoration proposed an accepted by 7 out of 12 councillors is not restoration at all. Filling the pits with water is not restoration. Conservation is a word bandied around so much that it has obviously lost its meaning. All flora and fauna currently on the land at Manor Farm will be killed by the gravel works. Introducing Geese and Fish at the end is not conservation as they were never on that site in the first place.
(Of course there is a reason for these lakes other that being the cheap and lazy way to “finish” the job. In years to come when gravel is exhausted and land for housing becomes the new tail feather to pull on Surrey Councils behind, Brett Aggregates will no doubt charge us a fortune to back fill them for development. Why return good land now when you can charge for it at a later date?)
The process by which this sort of decision is made is questionable. The councillors who made the ultimate decision are amateurs from outside the area who may or may not have any idea of the implications of the development. They are told by central government that gravel is expected and many just tow the party line regardless of the finer details.
To read the full agenda of the Jan 7th Meeting cut and paste this link
Chose "Agenda Reports Pack". Manor Farm is section7
If the link expires, please let me know and can send you a copy.