An application for a new quarry to supply essential construction materials to the local building trade, which will also safeguard scores of Island jobs, is being prepared for submission to Isle of Wight Council planners.
The application by Wight Building Materials is to extract sand and gravel, in managed phases, from 12 hectares of agricultural land at Palmers Farm near Wootton. Over a 10-year period the site will be extracted and progressively restored.
The new site is vital to the future of indigenous Island sand and gravel supplies and without it, imports of sand and gravel will be required to maintain supply. It is also essential to the future of Wight Building Materials and its near 40-strong workforce.
It is anticipated that the business’ existing permitted reserves of sand and gravel on the Island will have been extracted by 2023. The Palmers Farm site, therefore, represents an important source of sand and gravel that will maintain a secure supply of construction materials to the Island’s economy for the next 10 years.
The site will be typically worked by just 2 vehicles during daylight hours only and not at weekends nor bank holidays. There will be no processing of materials on site – this will be done at the company’s established facility at St George’s Down.
There will be a maximum of 25 loads taken from the site daily via an improved access off Brocks Copse Road. A comprehensive traffic management plan to ensure traffic impacts are minimised will accompany the application with a commitment that no quarry vehicles will use Palmers Road.
Wight Building Materials plan, depending on successful determination, to start quarrying activities in 2023 following the implementation of measures to reduce visual impact, minimise noise and to provide alternative habitat for wildlife.
In advance of the application, Wight Building Materials has held briefing meetings with Wootton residents and also will continue to liaise with neighbouring Isle of Wight Council ward members and other elected councillors.
Steve Burton, General Manager, says:
“This is an important project not just for the future of Wight Building Materials but for the wider local economy and we are very keen to bring people with us.
“As a business we try to do things the right way and we are committed to applying the highest operational standards to this project as we do with our others.
“This new quarry is critical to the continued production of construction materials at St George’s Down. Aggregates are the life blood of the business and sourcing sustainable, Island-won material reduces the need both for aggregates to be imported from the mainland and dredged from the sea.Article continues below this advertisement
“There are limited reserves of sand and gravel on the Island and this is one of the largest deposits still available for extraction. We are committed to do so responsibly, working with the local community.”
Steve said that comprehensive species surveys have already been undertaken and the application will include an agreed programme to compensate for any habitat lost during quarrying with enhanced neighbouring habitats.
There will be no importation of materials for restoration which will be achieved using site-derived materials only, with soils stripped and stored at the outset and respread over the worked land at the end of the quarrying process.
Don’t miss another story! Get the Island’s latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.