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Successful Minerals Challenge in rare ROMP Appeal at Oxted Quarry

Alexander Booth QC

In a decision letter dated 7 April 2020, a Planning Inspector has allowed an appeal brought by a minerals operator in respect of planning conditions imposed pursuant to periodic review. In finding comprehensively for Southern Gravel Ltd in the appeal proceedings brought pursuant to Schedule 14 of the Environment Act 1995, the Inspector Roger Catchpole rejected the case of the minerals planning authority, Surrey County Council, regarding conditions imposed in respect of operations at Oxted Quarry. 

The quarrying operations at Oxted comprise the extraction of large volumes of chalk, and importation of inert materials to infill the void. In determining the ROMP application the County Council had elected to impose a suite of conditions relating to the traffic generated by activities at the quarry; the conditions provided not only for the capping of vehicular movements at a level which rendered operations unsustainable, but also for the prohibition of exit traffic during peak hours, and a requirement that the quarry operator pay for the maintenance of local highway network.

Southern Gravel contested each of the conditions, relying on expert highways and acoustic evidence to establish that they were unreasonable, and would have adverse impacts on financial viability. Following a week long Public Inquiry held in January 2020, the Inspector accepted the Appellant’s case in respect of all substantive issues, electing to delete two of the three contested conditions in their entirety, and to substitute the Southern Gravel’s suggested wording in place of the third.

Alexander Booth QC, instructed by Claire Fallows of Charles Russell Speechlys, acted on behalf of the Appellant.