Press Release: WBAGI welcomes the protection of the AONB as Grundon’s Appeal on Sand Extraction is dismissed

PRESS RELEASE

Public contact: enquiries@wbagi.org

WBAGI welcomes the protection of the AONB as Grundon’s Appeal on Sand Extraction at Chieveley is dismissed

Tuesday, 6 November 2012:  Curridge, Berkshire:-

The campaign group, West Berkshire Against Grundon Incinerator (WBAGI), who oppose the proposed building of a waste incinerator on a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at Old Kiln Farm, near Newbury are delighted with today’s news that the Planning Inspectorate have dismissed Grundon’s appeal against West Berkshire’s refusal of their separate planning application to extend their quarrying activities by a further 20 hectares on agricultural land within an AONB, adjacent to the proposed site for the waste incinerator.

In the summary of the appeal decision, the Inspector concluded:

“While a need for the mineral has been identified, the appeal scheme is found to conflict with the relevant development plan policy for extraction of building sand. Exceptional circumstances have not been shown in this case to justify the granting of planning permission for the proposed mineral extraction within the AONB.

No other matters, including the scope of possible planning conditions, have been found that outweigh the identified failure to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, and associated policy conflict. Accordingly, for the reasons above and following consideration of all matters raised, I conclude the appeal should be dismissed.”

Simon Conington, Chair of WBAGI states: "This particular area within the AONB has seen a battery of inappropriate planning applications being submitted over the last 12 months. It is great to see that the policies in place within West Berkshire and nationally to protect these very special and beautiful landscapes win through in the end and that no precedent has been set that could erode their protected status. Grundon have now, through lapsed time, missed the opportunity to appeal against the refusal of their Incinerator application but their track record and tenacity to date at this and other proposed incinerator sites would indicate they may well be back with a new application for an Incinerator in the future.

WBAGI, and indeed the local community, sincerely hopes that West Berkshire Council will now finally be in a position to invoke an enforcement order on Grundon for the return of the Old Kiln Farm site to agriculture and woodland in line with the original planning conditions. Grundon are currently in breach of those conditions as they have failed to return Old Kiln Farm to agriculture and woodland by the due date of April 2010."

About WBAGI

West Berkshire Against Grundon Incinerator (WBAGI) was formed in response to an initial scoping document submitted to West Berkshire Council by Grundon, ahead of the planning application to build an Energy from Waste incinerator in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Group consists entirely of local residents who share a common concern over the planning  proposal and want to ensure sufficient consideration is taken in the decision making process of such a significant facility.