Concerns aired over gravel extraction plan for Barkingside plain

Plans have been unveiled for the final stage of gravel and sand extraction at Fairlop Plain.

Experts from the firm Brett Lafarge Ltd met with more than 150 residents at an exhibition near St Peter’s Church, Aldborough Road North, Newbury Park, on Friday and Saturday to outline how they plan to remove 900,000 tonnes of minerals from the 37-acre land next to the historic church.

While the plans have been well received by some residents, others have raised concerns over the proximity of the plans to the 150-year-old church.

Ron Jeffries, chairman of Alborough Hatch Defence Association, said: “We accept that gravel extraction is inevitable, it has been going on here for 50 years.

“My very real concern is about the stand-off, which should be at least 150m from the church. Over recent years there is clear evidence that the water table in the area has changed as the direct result of sand and gravel extraction.”

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The current proposed stand off, or distance, is 100m from the quarry to St Peter’s.

The mayor of Redbridge was among the residents who visited the consultation at the weekend, which featured scale models of the site and information boards.

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Consultants on archaeology, sound pollution and restoration were on hand to answer people’s concerns.

Brett Lafarge now hope to submit detailed planning applications for the site taking concerns into account. If permission is granted work at the site could start by next summer.

Fairlop Quarry has been supplying building materials for local projects for decades and output is about 150,000 tonnes per year.

Extraction at the proposed site would take about six years, before the land is restored to farm and woodland.

Brett Lafarge spokeswoman Ruth Roll said: “We were very pleased with the turnout and the level of interest shown by our visitors. We received some very helpful, very local information which we might otherwise not have been aware of.”

Redbridge Council, which bought the land at Fairlop in 1955, receives royalties for each tonne of gravel taken out of the plain.

After this phase, experts say it is unlikely they will find any zones which are viable for quarrying.

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