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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Call for independent review into controversial gravel pit

A controversial plan which includes a new gravel mine in Barton-in-Fabis has taken a step forward

PUBLISHED:

A controversial plan which includes a new gravel mine in Barton-in-Fabis has taken a step forward.

But calls are already being made for elements of the plan to be independently reviewed alongside an examination of the wider plan by Government planning inspectors.

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The Barton-in-Fabis site would be built on greenfield land, and could become operational later this year.

Around 280,000 tonnes per year of sand and gravel would be extracted every year for the next 15 years.

The quarry is included in a technical document known as the Minerals Local Plan (MLP). This sets out which sites are more likely to get planning permission to be used for quarrying.

However the plan has become politically controversial in recent years.

The last MLP was pulled at the 11th hour when the Conservatives came into power in 2017, and never came into effect.

It contained a proposed quarry in Radcliffe-on-Trent, the ward of the leader of the council, Councillor Kay Cutts’ ward.

The new plan does not include the quarry, which was proposed to have been built near the village of Shelford.

Councillor Stephen Carr represents the Bramcote and Beeston North ward for the Liberal Democrats.

He said: “The Shelford site has suddenly become too large, but no consideration has been given to reducing its size or phasing production over a longer period.

“A meeting was held last year with a Barton Parish councillor, the chairman of Clifton Village Residents Association and Lilian Greenwood (Labour MP for Nottingham South).

“It is alleged that an unsolicited comment was made at this meeting to the effect that these changes were made not because the Shelford site was unsuitable and Barton more so, but for party political reasons.

“Given the seriousness of this allegation, I am asking for a full investigation to be made, and that the minutes and notes of all meetings between councillors and officers be made available.

“This is a serious matter and I will be reporting this to the inspector who will review this plan.”

The plan will now go out to consultation, before being inspected by government planning chiefs.

Councillor John Cottee represents Keyworth for the Conservatives, and said: “I’m quite happy for comments made to be reported to the inspectorate who will obviously make a decision on it.

“It’s not for me to stand up and defend one thing or another, or hearsay, or what other views are.

“This is about the publication of a document which will allow members of the public to put their views forward, as people have done so far in the process, so I’m quite happy that this moves forward.”

Councillors voted for the plan to move to the next phase at a meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council yesterday by 36 votes to five, with 23 abstentions.

The Conservatives voted the plan through, Ashfield Independents voted against, and Labour abstained.

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