KM: Villagers out in force against proposed sandpit

Hundreds of villagers took to the fields at the weekend to voice their anger against a proposed sandpit.


Land off Roughetts Road in Ryarsh has been suggested as the potential site of a 3.6million tonne quarry which would help Kent County Council (KCC) meet its targets for mineral reserves over the coming years.


Andy Betts runs the village Facebook page and website, he said: “KCC must have had 500 letters of opposition from villagers since December.

Ryarsh Primary School pupils joined in with the protest. Picture: Gary Browne

“It was lovely to see the community together, the schoolchildren had painted a banner."


“We were all stood on the footpath next to the proposed site off Roughetts Road, to think that field could be a quarry is a travesty.”


Nearly 400 people came out in protest on Saturday - many part of Ryarsh Protection Group, which was forged in opposition to the proposals.


School children created their own banner against the proposal. Picture: James Rowland

The gathering followed on from a public meeting in January, where residents aired concerns the proposed pit could blight the village with extra lorries and resulting dirt.


Sharon Thompson, KCC’s head of planning applications, said at the meeting: “We’re a long way, if ever, from a planning application.”


Gerry Boyle, vice chairman of Ryarsh Protection Group said: “We’re all together in opposition against this abhorrent proposal.”

Hundreds of villagers gathered to help save Ryarsh. Picture: Andy Betts

The Duke of Wellington pub in Birling Road is hosting workshops for writing a response to KCC from 9.30am to 11am this Saturday and again on Saturday, March 17.

Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat has responded to the KCC consultation, writing: “[The site is] located on greenbelt, which should be respected and this alone would provide overwhelming evidence to stop this going further should a housing development of this size be proposed here.”


The Roughetts Road plot could be used to extract 3.1 million tonnes of soft sand and a further 500,000 tonnes of silica sand over 24 years.


Chapel Farm in Lenham is the only other soft sand quarry proposal put forward. It could be used to extract four million tonnes of sand over 26 years.


Smaller sites for sand and gravel extraction have been proposed in Capel, Dartford, Lydd, Tonbridge and Whetsted.


The consultation is available to view at tinyurl.com/mineralconsultation.


By Luke May

lmay@thekmgroup.co.uk


Source: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/malling/news/villagers-out-in-force-against-sandpit-160894/


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