When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Council scheme set for public hearing
CONTROVERSIAL county council plans for gravel extraction could move a step closer next week.
A public hearing into Hampshire County Council’s Minerals and Waste Plan before a planning inspector will resume next Wednesday and Thursday.
This follows a planning inquiry begun in June last year into the ‘soundness’ of the plan, which identifies where quarrying and landfill sites could be developed or extended across Hampshire.
If judged sound, the plan will become the framework by which future planning applications are judged.
Local residents and businesses have raised concerns about the loss of green space, impact on wildlife, damage to environmentally-sensitive areas, increased HGV traffic, noise and dust.
Following the June hearing, the inspector published recommendations, in which no major sites were ruled out and proposals were mainly for minor changes.
The public had the chance to comment on these changes until mid-December.
Following this, the inspector has decided to resume the hearing, at the county council offices in Winchester, which will focus on these responses.
Though the hearing is public, only those invited by the inspector may take part.
If the inspector decides that he has collected all the necessary evidence from this, he will close the hearing and finalise his report which will confirm whether he considers the plan to be a sound document.
To be considered sound it must be based on solid, clear evidence, have complied with statutory processes, gone through thorough consultation, be consistent with national policy and meet Hampshire’s mineral and waste development needs.
If judged suitable, the Hampshire local authorities will then adopt it as planning policy, replacing the current minerals and waste core strategy.
This means that all future planning applications for minerals and waste development will be assessed and determined on the basis of the plan’s policies.
Cllr Mel Kendal, the council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said the plan would “ensure that the local economy is supported by enabling an adequate supply of minerals and sustainably managing Hampshire’s waste”.