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Fate of Hamble hangs in the balance

Decision Day drags out and the threat of a quarry in the heart of the village continues to worry the Hamble peninsular residents and businesses. Hampshire County Council again postpones the hearing for the first Cemex quarry in the UK to be built with a buffer zone of less than 200 metres to 290 houses, businesses and schools and pre-schools, in the picturesque village of Hamble.

Hampshire County Council Planning Authority have been shown plans of every UK quarry currently run by the aggregates company Cemex, who would run the site. Aerial photographs from the British Geological Survey show the type of sites approved.

Not a single one has been sited in a residential setting such as Hamble. Yet the Council is continuing the process to establish suitability of gravel extraction This will result in high levels of pollution slap bang in the middle of this historical residential village, renowned as a popular tourist location, a regular on the International sailing calendar.

Cemex - one of the major aggregate’s companies – currently has 39 quarries around the UK. 7 located with only a handful of houses within this 200 metres boundary. The Hamble site has around 100 homes and residential properties backing directly onto it, including a Primary School, Secondary School, an Early Years Centre and a Sports Complex to name a few. A total of 290 homes are within 250m of the proposed quarry. This site is only 350m from the historic centre of the village, where there are many popular pubs, restaurants and shops etc.

Hamble Peninsular Residents Group (HPRG), the Hamble Parish Council, local residents and businesses are continuing to provide the many reasons why Hamble is not a suitable location:

· The question of the increased volume of traffic and the implications this will bring to the road safety.

· Pollution from the quarry activities in particulate and nitrogen content plus constant quarrying noise disruption. The threat to the health of children in the village and those attending the schools and pre-schools is serious and real.

· Water contamination threatening the protected RAMSAR and SSSI sites below the site.

· The outstanding question of where all the current users will go to get their exercise – again threatening the RAMSAR and SSSI sites nearby.

The decision date is dragging out – it has been poised for “a” regulatory committee (the body that makes the final decision) meeting every month since March and has been constantly delayed due to insufficient information, questions asked and not answered, and numerous other issues.

It has now been delayed again from the July meeting due to the recent late submission by Hampshire Highways Authority (HHA) – revealing their negotiations with Cemex .

HHA have stated they have no objection to the increase of 144 HGV’s a day. They have suggested there should be no departure from the site between 8-9am and 1530-1630, but do not prevent HGV’s from entering the site. This is when pavements will be full of children going to school. Cemex‘s own safety audit shows the HGV vehicles cannot manoeuvre into the site without risking mounting pavements, further jeopardising children’s safety. Details on the entrance has not been questioned by HHA.

The plans for the entrance to the quarry cross the “Dani King Cycle way” and footpath used by residents, and children throughout their school day when accessing the sports facilities. The Highway Code means pedestrians have right of way – but this will prevent vehicles entering the site and cause a backup along the already busy Hamble Lane.

Olympic gold medallist Dani King has already said she will take her name from the cycle lane should the Council go ahead with the quarry because it will no longer be safe. What an embarrassment for the council.

HHA have asked for mitigation of £500k to go towards what they call ‘improvement’ - upgrading bike paths, footpaths and potentially improving parking at Hamble train station. They claim improving the “active transport system” will lessen the load on Hamble Lane. But this fails to address the chronic congestion at any of the junctions of Hamble Lane - including at Portsmouth Road, a major route for traffic to and from the city of Southampton.

Last year, HHA firmly objected to, and HCC went on to reject, an application in Shedfield, Hampshire because of the dangerous access onto a road and the increase in traffic – Hamble Lane is far more congested – as recognised by the council themselves. The increase in HGV traffic on Hamble Lane has the potential for a much greater negative impact to residents and businesses in Hamble, Netley, Hound, Lowford and Bursledon. It seems that there may be no consistency in decision-making if the quarry at Hamble goes ahead.

Due to the continuing delays, campaigners are using this time to give councillors an open invitation to visit the site. However, the delays mean that uncertainty hangs over the heads of concerned residents and business owners, worried that the quarry activities and conditions, plus the extra traffic will severely compromise the conditions in Hamble.

The HPRG say that giving the go ahead for the first Cemex quarry in a residential area would set a dangerous precedent. Hamble has a varied life - being a holiday destination as well as residential village.

We can furnish you with the actual letter from Highways and detail of our response, but this information is all on the HCC website:

Any questions please do not hesitate to contact:

Emma Westmacott

Hamble Peninsular Residents Group


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