Anger as parish council turns down quarry talks

PUBLISHED: 12:10 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:20 06 May 2010

Simon Chaffe

Simon Chaffe

PROTESTORS campaigning against a quarry on their doorstep are furious their parish council has turned down another meeting with the company planning to excavate aggregates on the site. Tarmac is ready to submit their planning application to Bedfordshire C

PROTESTORS campaigning against a quarry on their doorstep are furious their parish council has turned down another meeting with the company planning to excavate aggregates on the site.

Tarmac is ready to submit their planning application to Bedfordshire County Council to open a new quarry between Broom and Southill covering almost 300 acres.

When Tarmac announced their proposals in April there was an avalanche of protests from people in Broom, where Tarmac already has a quarry, and within weeks a protest action group was formed.

Later, at the AGM of Southill Parish Council in Broom village hall, villagers almost brought the meeting to a standstill and one pensioner was warned he would be asked to leave if he kept interrupting councillors.

This week Tarmac revealed exclusively to The Comet that they had offered further private meetings with parish and town councils in the area to discuss their final plans and both Southill Parish Council and Biggleswade Town Council declined the offer.

"This is disgraceful. The parish council represents the people of Broom and a lot of other villages. They have a duty to listen to Tarmac again on behalf of all of us," said Broom protestor group campaigner Issy Rondel.

"This news has taken the wind out of me. I thought they supported us in our campaign.

"If Tarmac was making an offer to tell them more about what they wanted to do the parish council should have accepted the offer and listened to them and reported back to the villagers around here.

"We must have another meeting as soon as possible to discuss this because what they have done is disgraceful."

Southill Parish Council clerk Phillip Knightley admitted the council had been offered the meeting with Tarmac but councillors had turned it down.

He said: "Councillors had already had a private showing of the proposals and didn't want another meeting. They didn't want to be seen as being over-influenced by Tarmac and felt it wouldn't do any good meeting them again."

Simon Chaffe, the senior estates surveyor for Tarmac who is managing the Broom project, said: "I must admit I was surprised by Southill Parish Council's response because the quarry is in their parish and a lot of people there do not want the quarry.

"After holding a public examination at Broom village hall in April we have fully considered the comments and suggestions made by the visitors to the exhibition, and as a result we are reviewing parts of our original proposals where possible.

"We have offered to present our plans to town and parish councils in the surrounding area. Our offer is still open as we're keen to ensure all interested parties have full access to, and comment on, our application.

"Following this, we hope to submit our planning application for Broom South at the end of July.

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