Villagers prepare to fight quarry plan

FURIOUS villagers are bracing themselves for a second battle against plans for a massive quarry they claim would turn one of Suffolk's busiest roads into a death-trap.

FURIOUS villagers are bracing themselves for a second battle against plans for a massive quarry they claim would turn one of Suffolk's busiest roads into a death-trap.

Aggregates bosses last week submitted a fresh application for the land at Chilton, near Sudbury, and as part of a two-pronged offensive they also plan to appeal against Suffolk County Council's original rejection of the plan to extract one-million tonnes of sand and gravel from the 39-hectare site.

But residents, who mounted an organised campaign which included a county hall rally to get the plan thrown out in March, say they are prepared to fight the latest application to stop lives being put at risk by the thousands of lorries the quarry would put on the A134 and other routes every year.

Peter Clifford, chairman of Chilton Parish Council, said the fresh application - which adds a roundabout to the original plan - was no better: “The roundabout will make getting into and out of the quarry entrance easier but we believe the quarry traffic will still cost lives.

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“We have measured traffic flow on the A134 at 1,000 vehicles at busy times, the area is growing and most locals will see putting a quarry here as nothing but dangerous. I think the campaign will be as big, if not bigger, than last time.”

County councillor for the area, Colin Spence, said he had no doubt the decision to reject the plan was the right one: “We have had yet another fatality on the road (the A134) since March and people will take some convincing that this is a good idea.”

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Mr Spence said villagers in Chilton and nearby Newton, Great Waldingfield, and Little Cornard were all fearful of the quarry plans.

Tim Yeo, MP for the area, said he was disappointed by the latest developments - particularly the appeal: “I think this is a waste of everyone's time. The objections were absolutely overwhelming. There were serious grounds against this and they remain as strong.”

“I will be writing to the minister to register my concerns and stress that I think the (original) decision was the right one and I will reiterate the concerns I have. I hope the appeal has little chance but you can never be sure. You have to keep up the fight and I'm sure the community will do that.”

Colin Poole, chairman of Newton Parish Council, said the new application would have to be carefully considered as a roundabout was one of the things the village had been campaigning for: “We will wait and see exactly what they have set down in this application.”

Mike Courts, general manager of Brett Aggregates, said the firm had carefully considered the views of locals: “We wanted to give the council and local residents a choice and that is why we are resubmitting a fresh application and appealing against the decision.

“We are proposing two alternatives, either one of which we are prepared for. This is about choice and the reason we have resubmitted, albeit with a roundabout, is because we want to show people we are listening.”

He said Brett Aggregates had moved to ease traffic concerns with the specially-built roundabout to serve the quarry and he stressed: “This site has been in the (Suffolk County Council) minerals plans since the 1990s and we are merely trying to follow through that planning allocation made at that time.”

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