Glebe land under threat from light industrial development

After a year-long campaign against a proposal to build a gravel quarry near their village, residents of Warmington were disappointed by the decision of the Northamptonshire County Council to approve the plan.

The NCC Development Control Committee met in November to discuss the plans submitted by Ingrebourne Valley Ltd to extend and develop quarry extraction on Elton Estate land off the A605 near Warmington. The DCC noted that support for this sort of plan is usually automatic because it was an allocated site in the Local Plan. 

The plan aims to turn 23.3 hectares at the Elton site into a mineral extraction quarry, with a working lifespan of nine years, and extract up to 900,000 tonnes of gravel and sand. Objections from local residents were targeted at the plan’s adverse impact on wildlife, the historic and ecological setting, and the increase in heavy goods vehicle traffic on the A605. 

Tom Pursglove, MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, offered his support to the objections of Warmington residents. In a letter to the NCC, he wrote: “Certainly, Warmington village is a gem in the rolling Northamptonshire countryside, situated in beautiful and historic surroundings, which I believe would be significantly and adversely affected by the proposed quarry construction.” 

Councillor Andy Mercer, DCC Chair, said objections to the quarry application had to be for planning reasons.

“I have not heard any planning objections, but have heard a series of suggestions that there is a loss of amenity and potentially an impact on the landscape and the setting of historic buildings.” He noted that the impact on the landscape would be hard to justify a refusal, because there was a suggestion that there would be an improvement in the landscape during the restoration stages.

Some members of the committee were sympathetic to the concerns of Warmington residents. Councillor Andrew Kilbride acknowledged that it was an emotional issue and thought it “was quite poor” that the quarry company had not engaged properly with the community. 

Whatever reservations some of the committee members might have had, they felt that any objections would not stand up legally on appeal. The committee unanimously carried the motion to approve the plans.

Once the quarry is operational, drivers will experience a considerable increase of HGV traffic on the A605 near Elton. At its peak operation, the quarry will generate on average 112 HGV movements daily, with a maximum of 140 two-way movements.

Matthew Atkin
1 December 2020