Fears Gravel Pit Plans Will Kill Tourist Trade
1:26pm 7th February 2014
(Updated 1:28pm 7th February 2014)
There's anger over proposals which could see heathland and part of Wareham Forest turned into a giant gravel pit.
The site between Sherford Bridge and Gore Hill has been earmarked for gravel and ball clay extraction.
Denise Bell from the Silent Woman Inn in Wareham Forest says the impact on the tourist trade will be devastating - she's started a petition to stop the proposals from going ahead.
LISTEN TO HER INTERVIEW WITH WESSEX FM HERE
Lytchett Matravers parish councilors Martyn Colvey and John Taylor recently visited the area between Sherford Bridge and Gore Hill, off the A35, to see for themselves the proposals for mineral extraction. They were shocked by the extent of the destruction and vowed to fight the plans.
Martyn Colvey said “I find it appalling that an area which has been used and loved by residents for so many years could be under such threat and potentially turned into a wasteland”.
The area is popular with dog walkers, runners, riders and cyclists. Martyn went on to say “if people are excluded from this site it will put pressure on other environmentally sensitive sites”.
Mike Garrity, head of the Planning Policy team said:
"Dorset County Council as a Mineral Planning Authority is required to produce a Mineral Sites Plan, identifying future quarries for future mineral supplies. The site known as Gore Heath (AS23) has been nominated to Dorset County Council for consideration for a possible future sand and gravel quarry.
At this stage the plan is only identifying sites that have been proposed to us for consideration, to ensure that the public is able to see what might sites are being considered by land owners/the mineral industry. None of the sites have been endorsed by the Mineral Planning Authorities.
As part of the process of developing the Mineral Sites Plan it will be necessary to consider whether or not there is a viable mineral resource, as well as normal planning considerations relating to access, traffic, visual and amenity impacts, landscape, hydrology and flora/fauna. In many cases the site area nominated to us is likely to be in excess of what might actually end up as a proposal in the final Mineral Sites Plan. Hence there is a long way to go before any of the sites end up as an allocation in a development plan, and further consultation will take place before the plan is eventually submitted to the Secretary of State for an examination into its suitability.
We strongly encourage people to view the plans and send us their comments by the end of the consultation on 13 February 2014. This will help us to understand the most important issues for people before the plans are progressed any further."