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Residents Enraged By Surrey Planners Regarding Epsom Chalk Pit

#EpsomChalkGREEN BELT AND HUNDREDS OF RESIDENTS ‘SACRIFICED’ BY SURREY PLANNERS FOR EPSOM WASTE RECYCLING FACILITY

Residents enraged by planners recommendation which allows harm to be caused to Green Belt and destroy residential amenity. Final decision by Planning Committee (Jan 26) has to go to The Secretary of State for the Environment.

industrial building on Green Belt land at the Chalk Pit. They vow to fight it at Wednesday’s Planning Committee meeting in Reigate.

The Council’s papers, six times delayed, admit the proposal, by NJB Recycling Ltd, will “cause harm” to the openness of the Green Belt, but have overruled this, and many other planning policies, citing “very special circumstances” invoked by an overriding need for local recycling facilities.

Yet the Council also admits in the planning papers any gain will be “small”. Despite having six designated strategic waste material recycling sites in the county under the Surrey Local Waste Plan, these have been ignored as alternatives as they have to consider any planning application outside these sites “on their merit”

Despite being one of the most contentious planning applications seen in the County, planning officers are set to overrule over 700 formal objections and a petition signed by 3,320 people. Epsom & Ewell Borough Council ; Epsom MP, Chris Grayling, and all local councillors are united in support for residents, having submitted objections.

The operator took matters into his own hands in summer 2020 and started site construction without any planning permission. This changed its use from waste transfer to waste recycling, involving huge revolving metal “trommels” and sorting machines. This has caused intrusive noise and dust misery to many hundreds of residents for over 18 months now, intensifying a tiny 1.8 hectare site from which residents have counted as many nearly 400  HGV movements daily.

However, the Council’s reliance on unsubstantiated assurances from the site operations regulator , the Environment Agency,  that noise “mitigations” pass permit conditions, may now mean that the planners’ recommendations themselves are compromised. This is because of a devastating Internal Review carried out by the EA itself, which finds evidence of bias towards the operator, and a failure to “take adequate action to control the impacts from the activities it regulates on the lives of people living nearby”.

Both the EA and SCC failed to take proper account of an expert noise assessment  (the Tofts Report) by the EA itself in July, 2021, which concluded that the NJB site was creating a “serious CICS2” noise incident, with average noise 18 dB over background noise. Operator mitigations included some old mattresses and some acoustic foam sheets under corrugated iron, which were surprisingly approved by the EA with a 30 min subjective check, rather than a full noise data test. Residents’ health, wellbeing and mental health concerns are at stake.

“ The planning and regulatory authorities ought to be ashamed of themselves, and could be in as big a mess as the Chalk Pit is itself ” says Nigel Collin, an affected resident and local Councillor, who has been working across party with all the Councillors to avert the application. “ Planning policies and expert noise reports appear to have been jettisoned to allow industrial recycling machinery to devastate an undesignated and obviously unsuitable residential environment. The Council says a Green Belt-busting building can be controlled with conditions, but everyone knows their monitoring and enforcement is not fit for purpose. We feel residents and the Green Belt is being sacrificed on the altar of local recycling wokery” Any final decision by the SCC Planning Committee on Wednesday has to be referred to the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Chalk Pit, College Road, Epsom
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Published by epsomchalk

Community Page for the Chalk Pit in College Road, Epsom, Surrey, UK.

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