Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Beech Hill Farm tipping application

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Beech Hill Farm - blue line shows tipping boundary, pointer shows access from Westerleigh Road

This is the property on the right as you go from the Shire Way mini-roundabout, under the bridge towards Westerleigh – the place where they periodically sell fireworks and the like. The land behind the buildings is just across the track from the Westerleigh Rd railway embankment, so the neighbours are Chedworth and Rodborough. Over the years there has been a history of failed planning applications and enforcement notices.

Many years ago the land was tipped, but according to the planning application paperwork it is too contaminated for grazing – some of the tipped material was waste sand from a foundry. Most of the original tipping was domestic waste. Test pits have confirmed this, finding amongst other things a Wellington boot and a dead cat. Apparently the clay capping on the landfill has failed.

It is proposed to cover the site to a depth of 2 metres - 1 metre of clay, 0.75 metres of subsoil and 0.25 metres of topsoil. This would mean importing 54,000 cubic metres of material – some 6350 lorry loads over 2 years, roughly similar to the railway embankment works, but spread over a longer period. This would be an average of 11.3 lorries per working day (based on 3 axle trucks holding 8.5 cubic metres each – if 4 axle trucks are used there would be fewer journeys)

There would be temporary roadways and wheel cleaning to minimise mud, and a mechanical road sweeper on Westerleigh Rd when necessary.

Proposed working hours are 0800-1800 Monday to Friday, and 0800-1300 or 1600 (the paperwork is inconsistent) on Saturdays. This road is of course very busy in both rush hours.

They have shown turning dimensions for trucks going both ways, so presumably some traffic could go through the estate. Trucks would go round a loop within the site so they should not need to reverse onto the main road. Restoration would include appropriate hedge planting and drainage.

Westerleigh Parish Council has objected due to its “dangerous highway location” and noted that there has been a history of not complying with conditions of a planning appeal. Yate Town Council has objected that it would be detrimental to nearby residents’ enjoyment of natural amenity, and that there would be an unacceptable increase of traffic at peak times. A local resident has objected on the grounds of noise, traffic, vibration and dust.

South Glos Technical Support (Street Care) has expressed concerns about potential flooding, unless an Environment Agency report is received to the contrary. They also point out that there are major sewers and drains across the southern part of the site – two Wessex Water surface water sewers, a Wessex Water foul sewer and the Network Rail land drain, all of which would need to be protected.

The land drain is the one that drains the embankment and carries the water from the Shire Way club tipping site, where it is suspected that tipping crushed a drain, causing the flooding at Besom Lane.

Dodington Parish Council will be discussing the application at its meeting on 5 September, and then the application will go to South Glos Council for decision. All the paperwork is available from the file on South Glos's website, but be warned, there's a lot of it.

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