Preferred Options consultation document

Ended on the 30th October 2019
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Breckland Sites

(13) MIN 12 - land north of Chapel Lane, Beetley

Site Characteristics

  • The 16.38 hectare site is within the parish of Beetley
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 1,175,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2025 and estimated the extraction rate to be 80,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within 15 years, therefore approximately 960,000 tonnes could be extracted within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by Middleton Aggregates Ltd as an extension to an existing site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 3.
  • The site is 3.7km from Dereham and 12km from Fakenham, which are the nearest towns.

A reduced extraction area has been proposed of 14.9 hectares, which creates standoff areas to the south west of the site nearest to the buildings on Chapel Lane, and to the north west of the site nearest the dwellings on Church Lane.

M12.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 11m from the site boundary. There are 22 sensitive receptors within 250m of the site boundary and six of these are within 100m of the site boundary. The settlement of Beetley is 260m away and Old Beetley is 380m away. However, land at the north-west and south-west corners is not proposed to be extracted. Therefore, the nearest residential property is 95m from the extraction area and there are 18 sensitive receptors within 250m of the proposed extraction area (two of these are within 100m of the proposed extraction area). Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. The greatest impacts will be within 100 metres of a source, if uncontrolled. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include noise and dust assessments and mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts.

M12.2 Highway access: The site would access the existing plant site on the land to the north of Rawhall Lane via an extension to the existing conveyor. From the plant site the existing site access would be used onto Rawhall Lane east to the junction with the B1146 Fakenham Road, which is a designated lorry route. The site is not within an AQMA. As a proposed extension to an existing site, the number of vehicle movements is expected to remain the same but continue for a longer period. The estimated number of HGV movements is 30 (in and out) per day. The proposed highway access is considered to be suitable by the Highway Authority.

M12.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with boundary loss. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure and boundary loss, agriculture with 18th to 19th Century enclosure, and enclosed wetland meadows. The wider historic landscape character also includes 18th to 20th Century woodland plantation, mineral extraction and leisure/recreation.

M12.4 The nearest Listed building is 460m away and is the Grade I Church of St Mary Magdalen. There are 14 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. The only Scheduled Monument within 2km of the site is 1.57km away and is the 'Moated site 280m south east of Spong Bridge'. There are no Conservation Areas or Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.

M12.5 Archaeology: There are no Historic Environment records within the site boundary, however this may just be due to a lack of investigations. The site is in a wider landscape with a significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, and the site is immediately north of the remains of a Roman road. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.

M12.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site comprises open arable land with few landscape features apart from boundary hedgerow. The site lies close to the boundaries of the landscape character areas described as 'Beeston Plateau Farmland' and 'River Nar Tributary Farmland' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment. It lies within a wider area of open arable landscape punctuated with hedgerow oaks and small areas of woodland. Immediately to the north of the site is an existing permitted mineral extraction site, which formed part of the adopted allocation site MIN 10, of which MIN 12 was part.

M12.7 The site is generally well screened from views from surrounding roads and property, although views of the site would be seen from Field Lane, a road used as a public path which bounds the site to the north. In addition, the southern part of the site is slightly elevated and may be visible in a long view from public paths crossing land to the north of the Whitewater valley. The site would be relatively easy to screen from the views from Field Lane, although attention would need to be given to screening views from the north. A low-level restoration scheme with appropriate margins, gradients and land use could be acceptable in this plateau arable landscape, and this is what has been proposed.

M12.8 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M12.9 Ecology: The site is 3.47km from the River Wensum SAC and is outside the Impact Risk Zone for the River Wensum SSSI. Due to this distance, no impacts on this SAC are expected.

M12.10 Beetley and Hoe Meadows SSSI is 1.16km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the valley site represents one of the finest remaining areas of wet unimproved grassland in Norfolk which is species-rich and includes several locally uncommon plants. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located up-gradient of the SSSI. Therefore, the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M12.11 Dillington Carr, Gressenhall SSSI is 1.44km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the site is an extensive area of carr woodland and open water occupying the valley floor and sides of a small tributary of the River Wensum. The site also includes extensive stands of the nationally rare lowland bird cherry-alder woodland. Irrigation reservoirs have been created within the carr which support an outstanding assemblage of freshwater breeding birds, including several uncommon species. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located up-gradient of the SSSI. Therefore, the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M12.12 The nearest County Wildlife Site is CWS 1027 'Gressenhall Green Marshes' which is 730m from the site boundary. The CWS is a mosaic of predominantly unmanaged broad-leaved semi-natural woodland, scrub, hedgerows, ditches and marshy grassland. Due to the distance from the CWS there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the County Wildlife Site would not be adversely affected.

M12.13 The nearest ancient woodland site is Great Wood which is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) and Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW); it is 1.28km from the site boundary. Due to the distance from the ancient woodland there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the ancient woodland would not be adversely affected.

M12.14 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Briton's Lane sand and gravel member, overlying chalk formations. The Briton's Lane sands and gravels are known to contain priority features such as palaesols and erratics in other locations, and therefore they may occur on this site. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application. It would be useful to retain some open faces for scientific study during operational stages, and ideally after restoration, and have a 'watching brief' during the extraction phase in case features of potential geodiversity interest are uncovered.

M12.15 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. No areas of the site are at risk of flooding from surface water. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M12.16 Hydrogeology: The site is located over a secondary A aquifer (superficial deposits) and a principal aquifer (bedrock). The site is within groundwater Source Protection Zone 3. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore no effect on water resources is expected.

M12.17 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 1km from the Blackwater and 1.2km from Wendling Beck, which are the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbodies. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards the Blackwater or Wendling Beck. MIN 12 and the existing processing plant, which the sand and gravel could be transported to by conveyor, are both located north of Wendling Beck and south of the Blackwater. Therefore the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across either of these watercourses. Due to the distance of the site from the Blackwater and Wendling Beck, it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into these waterbodies from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 12.

M12.18 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There are no high-pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M12.19 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M12.20 Restoration: The site is proposed to be restored at a lower level and returned to arable agriculture. Restoration would include wide field margins, new hedgerows and some woodland.

M12.21 Conclusion: Site MIN 12 is considered suitable to allocate for sand and gravel extraction. Development will be subject to compliance with the relevant Minerals and Waste Local Plan Policies and Specific Site Allocation Policy MIN 12.


Specific Site Allocation Policy MIN 12 (land north of Chapel Lane, Beetley):

The site is allocated as a specific site for sand and gravel extraction. Development will be subject to compliance with the Minerals and Waste Local Plan policies and all the following requirements:

  • Submission of noise and dust assessments and a programme of mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts;
  • The existing processing plant (at East Bilney Quarry), accessed via an extension to the current conveyor, must be used;
  • Submission of a detailed landscaping and screening scheme which ensures that there are no unacceptable impacts on residents of Chapel Road and Fakenham Road/Church Lane specifically, users of Field Lane, and the landscape generally, and that the settings of nearby listed buildings are protected;
  • The site will need to be phased with the adjacent permitted site so that only one site is worked for extraction at a time in accordance with a phased and progressive working and restoration scheme.
  • Submission of a progressive restoration scheme to a lower level (with no importation of materials) back to agriculture, to provide wide field margins, new hedgerows and additional woodland to provide landscape and biodiversity gains;
  • Provision of opportunities during working for any geodiversity assets to studied, and if compatible with the landscape and ecology objectives an open face to be included within any restoration scheme for future scientific study;
  • Submission of a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required; and
  • An appropriate archaeological assessment must be prepared in consultation with Norfolk County Council; this may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching. The archaeological assessment will be used by Norfolk County Council/Historic Environment Service to agree appropriate mitigation measures.


(9) MIN 51 & MIN 13 - land west of Bilney Road, Beetley

Site Characteristics

  • The 27.14 hectare site is within the parish of Beetley
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 1,120,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2020 and estimated the extraction rate to be 70,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within sixteen years, which would be within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by Longwater Gravel Co Ltd as a new site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 3
  • The site is 4.5km from Dereham and 11km from Fakenham, which are the nearest towns

M51.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 171m from the site boundary. There are three sensitive receptors within 250m of the site boundary. The settlement of East Bilney is 470m away. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. The greatest impacts will be within 100 metres of a source, if uncontrolled. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include noise and dust assessments and mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts.

M51.2 Highway access: Access would be from the north-eastern corner of the site onto Rawhall Lane just before it joins the C225 Bilney Road and then join the B1146 Fakenham Road, which is a designated lorry route. There would only be approximately 100m before vehicles could access the B1146. The site is not within an AQMA. The estimated number of HGV movements is 10 out per day. The proposed highway access using Rawhall Lane considered to be suitable by the Highway Authority.

M51.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with boundary loss and agriculture with 18th to 19th Century enclosure. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure, boundary loss and boundary loss with a relict element, agriculture with 18th to 19th Century enclosure and enclosed wetland meadow. The wider historic landscape character also includes informal parkland, mineral extraction and woodland (ancient woodland and 18th to 20th century plantation woodland).

M51.4 The nearest Listed Building is 680m away and is the Grade II Almshouses. There are 16 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. The only Scheduled Monument within 2km is the 'Deserted Medieval Village' which is 1.11km away. Brisley Conservation Area is 1.74km from the site. There are no Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.

M51.5 Archaeology: Historic Environment records of cropmarks, including a ring ditch, exist within the site boundary, however the site has not been subject to a programme of investigation. The site is in a wider landscape with a significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, and the site is north of the remains of a Roman road and south of a number of features from multiple periods. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.

M51.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site comprises open arable land with few landscape features apart from mature hedgerow oaks. The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Beeston Plateau Farmland' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment. It lies within a wider area of open arable landscape punctuated with hedgerow oaks and small areas of woodland. An active quarry lies to the north of Rawhall Lane, but does not really detract from the rural appearance of this site.

M51.7 Views of the site can be seen from Bilney Lane to the east and with a longer view from Stoney Lane to the south and Rawhall Lane to the north. The site is fairly flat and would be relatively easy to screen from the views from surrounding roads, by planting additional boundary hedges and thickening up existing boundary hedges. The nearest isolated properties along Rawhall Lane to the north-west would have limited views into the north-west part of the site which would require also additional hedgerow boundary screening. The site comprises open agricultural land, set down to a grass ley with some boundary hedges and hedgerow trees. The site contains some good internal landscape features; the internal hedgerow oaks and the block of woodland and rough grass lie within the centre of the site are notable features in this open landscape and should be protected by a suitable working scheme. A low level restoration scheme with appropriate margins and landuse could be acceptable in landscape terms.

M51.8 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M51.9 Ecology: The site is 4.54km from the River Wensum SAC and is outside the Impact Risk Zone for the River Wensum SSSI. Due to this distance, no impacts on this SAC are expected.

M51.10 Beetley and Hoe Meadows SSSI is 2.34km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the valley site represents one of the finest remaining areas of wet unimproved grassland in Norfolk which is species-rich and includes several locally uncommon plants. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located up-gradient of the SSSI. Therefore the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M51.11 Dillington Carr, Gressenhall SSSI is 2.17km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the site is an extensive area of carr woodland and open water occupying the valley floor and sides of a small tributary of the River Wensum. The site also includes extensive stands of the nationally rare lowland bird cherry-alder woodland. Irrigation reservoirs have been created within the carr which support an outstanding assemblage of freshwater breeding birds, including several uncommon species. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located up-gradient of the SSSI. Therefore, the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M51.12 Horse Wood Mileham SSSI is 2.84km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that it is an ancient woodland with a structure of coppice-with-standards. The ground flora is exceptionally diverse and includes a number of rare and uncommon species in great abundance. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table). Therefore, the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M51.13 County Wildlife Site 2137 'Beck Farm Meadows' is 520m from the site boundary. The CWS is a series of damp, cattle-grazed meadows on the south bank of the Black Water. County Wildlife Site 2068 'Rawhall Wood' is 540m from the site boundary. The CWS is an ancient broad-leaved semi-natural woodland supporting a species-rich ground flora, with a network of wide rides. Due to the distance from the CWS there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the County Wildlife Site would not be adversely affected.

M51.14 The nearest ancient woodland site is Rawhall Wood which is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) and Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW); it is 0.57km from the site boundary. Due to the distance from the ancient woodland site there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the ancient woodland would not be adversely affected.

M51.15 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Briton's Lane sand and gravel member, Lowestoft formation – diamicton, overlying chalk formations. The Briton's Lane sands and gravels are known to contain priority features such as palaesols and erratics in other locations, and therefore they may occur on this site. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application. It would be useful to retain some open faces for scientific study during operational stages, and ideally after restoration, and have a 'watching brief' during the extraction phase in case features of potential geodiversity interest are uncovered.

M51.16 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. The site has a medium probability of surface water flooding with a few locations of surface water pooling in 1 in 30 and 1 in 100-year rainfall events. In a 1 in 1000-year rainfall event there is a surface water flow path across the south-western corner of the site. Sand and gravel extraction is considered to be a 'water compatible' land use which is suitable in all flood zones. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M51.17 Hydrogeology: The site is located over a secondary A aquifer (superficial deposits) and a principal aquifer (bedrock). The site is within groundwater Source Protection Zone 3. The proposed site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore no effect on water resources is expected.

M51.18 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 600 metres from the Blackwater and 2km from Wendling Beck, which are the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbodies. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards the Blackwater or Wendling Beck. If mineral is extracted from this site it is expected to be processed on site. Therefore, the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across either of these watercourses. Due to the distance of the site from the Blackwater and Wendling Beck, it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into these waterbodies from any future sand and gravel extraction within this site.

M51.19 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There is a National Grid high pressure gas pipeline located along the eastern boundary of the site.

M51.20 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M51.21 Restoration: The site is proposed to be restored at a lower level and returned to arable agricultural. Due to the expected depth of extraction, it is recognised that restoration to arable is likely to require the use of imported inert material to provide a suitable profile. Lagoons to be retained as ponds with planting to create wet woodland habitat. Hedgerow interspersed with oaks is to be planted along the northern boundary alongside Rawhall Lane.

M51.22 Conclusion: Site MIN 51 & MIN 13 is considered suitable to allocate for sand and gravel extraction. Development will be subject to compliance with the relevant Minerals and Waste Local Plan Policies and Specific Site Allocation Policy MIN 51 & MIN 13.


(1) Specific Site Allocation Policy MIN 51 & MIN 13 (land west of Bilney Road, Beetley):

The site is allocated as a specific site for sand and gravel extraction. Development will be subject to compliance with the Minerals and Waste Local Plan policies and all the following requirements:

  • Highway access to be from the north-eastern corner of the site onto Rawhall Lane just before it joins the C225 Bilney Road and then join the B1146 Fakenham Road. Appropriate financial contributions to B1146 Fakenham Road/Rawhall Road junction improvements must be made, if required;
  • Submission of noise and dust assessments and a programme of mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts;
  • Submission of a high-quality working scheme with site screening to include the planting of new boundary hedges and the thickening of existing boundary hedges, safeguarding the hedgerow oaks and two small areas of woodland on the site and using them as a focal point for restoration.
  • Submission of a progressive restoration scheme to provide wide field margins, new hedgerows and additional woodland to provide landscape and biodiversity gains;
  • Restoration of the extraction void to use the importation of inert materials only;
  • Provision of opportunities during working for any geodiversity assets to studied, and if compatible with the landscape and ecology objectives an open face to be included within any restoration scheme for future scientific study;
  • Submission of a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required; and
  • An appropriate archaeological assessment must be prepared in consultation with Norfolk County Council; this may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching. The archaeological assessment will be used by Norfolk County Council/Historic Environment Service to agree appropriate mitigation measures.


(6) MIN 08 - land north of Stoney Lane, Beetley

Site Characteristics

  • The 15.3 hectare site is within the parish of Beetley
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 731,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2020 and estimated the extraction rate to be 70,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within eleven years, which would be within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by the landowner.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 3.
  • The site is 4.2km from Dereham and 11.5km from Fakenham, which are the nearest towns

M8.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 417m from the site boundary. The settlement of Gressenhall is 530m away. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. Therefore, no adverse amenity impacts are expected from the proposed mineral extraction.

M8.2 Highway access: The site access is proposed along either Bilney Road (C225) to the north or Stoney Lane (unclassified) to the east, to junctions with the B1146 Fakenham Road, which is a designated lorry route. However, the Highway Authority has stated that both of these proposed access routes are unacceptable as they are both narrow sub-standard roads. Therefore, the Highway Authority have advised that access would need to be through sites MIN 15 / MIN 13 to access Rawhall Lane just before it joins the C225 Bilney Road and then join the B1146 Fakenham Road, which is a designated lorry route. There would only be approximately 100m before vehicles could access the B1146. The site is not within an AQMA. The estimated number of HGV movements is 30 to 40 per day.

M8.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with boundary loss. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure, boundary loss and boundary loss with a relict element, agriculture with 18th to 19th Century enclosure and enclosed wetland meadow. The wider historic landscape character also includes mineral extraction and woodland (ancient woodland and 18th to 20th century plantation woodland).

M8.4 The nearest Listed Building is 830m away and is the Grade II Methodist Chapel and adjoining two dwellings. There are 15 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. The only Scheduled Monument within 2km of the site is 1.37km away and is the 'Deserted Medieval village'. There are no Conservation Areas or Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.

M8.5 Archaeology: Historic Environment records of cropmarks and isolated finds, including a ring ditch exist within the site boundary, however the site has not been subject to a programme of investigation. The site is in a wider landscape with a significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, and the site is north of the remains of a Roman road and a possible road linking to this runs through part of the site. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.

M8.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site comprises open arable land. The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Beeston Plateau Farmland' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment. There are few landscape features within the site, but a line of mature hedgerow oaks lie along its northern boundary. It lies within a wider area of open arable landscape punctuated with hedgerow oaks and small areas of woodland. Views of the site can be seen from Bilney Lane to the east and Stoney Lane to the south. The site is remote from property and is fairly flat and would be relatively easy to screen from the views from the surrounding roads. A low level restoration scheme with appropriate margins and land use could be acceptable in landscape terms.

M8.7 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M8.8 Ecology: The site is 4.64km from the River Wensum SAC and is outside the Impact Risk Zone for the River Wensum SSSI. Due to this distance, no impacts on this SAC are expected.

M8.9 Beetley and Hoe Meadows SSSI is 2.12km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the valley site represents one of the finest remaining areas of wet unimproved grassland in Norfolk which is species-rich and includes several locally uncommon plants. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located up-gradient of the SSSI. Therefore the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M8.10 Dillington Carr, Gressenhall SSSI is 1.88km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the site is an extensive area of carr woodland and open water occupying the valley floor and sides of a small tributary of the River Wensum. The site also includes extensive stands of the nationally rare lowland bird cherry-alder woodland. Irrigation reservoirs have been created within the carr which support an outstanding assemblage of freshwater breeding birds, including several uncommon species. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located up-gradient of the SSSI. Therefore the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M8.11 The nearest County Wildlife Site is CWS 2068 'Rawhall Wood' which is 850m from the site boundary. The CWS is an ancient broad-leaved semi-natural woodland supporting a species-rich ground flora, with a network of wide rides. Due to the distance from the CWS there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the County Wildlife Site would not be adversely affected.

M8.12 The nearest ancient woodland site is Rawhall Wood, which is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) and Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW); it is 0.85km from the site boundary. Due to the distance from the ancient woodland site there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the ancient woodland would not be adversely affected.

M8.13 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Briton's Lane sand and gravel member, Lowestoft formation – diamicton. The Briton's Lane sands and gravels are known to contain priority features such as palaesols and erratics in other locations, and therefore they may occur on this site. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application. It would be useful to retain some open faces for scientific study during operational stages, and ideally after restoration, and have a 'watching brief' during the extraction phase in case features of potential geodiversity interest are uncovered.

M8.14 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. The site has a medium probability of surface water flooding with an area of surface water pooling in a 1 in 30 year rainfall event. In a 1 in 100 year rainfall event a flow path develops between the area of ponding and the south-eastern corner of the site. In a 1 in 1000 year rainfall event the surface water flow path further develops to run north west to south east across the site. Sand and gravel extraction is considered to be a 'water compatible' land use which is suitable in all flood zones. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M8.15 Hydrogeology: The site is partially located over a Secondary A aquifer and a secondary (undifferentiated) aquifer (superficial deposits) and a principal aquifer (bedrock). The site is within groundwater Source Protection Zone 3. The proposed site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore no effect on water resources is expected.

M8.16 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 1km from the Blackwater and 1.7km from Wendling Beck, which are the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbodies. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards the Blackwater or Wendling Beck. MIN 08 could potentially use an adjacent processing plant to be located within the site proposed site MIN 51 / MIN 13 to the north, which the sand and gravel could be transported to by conveyor. Both site MIN 08 and the proposed adjacent processing plant are some distance north of Wendling Beck and south of the Blackwater. Therefore, the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across either of these watercourses. Due to the distance of the site from the Blackwater and Wendling Beck, it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into these waterbodies from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 08.

M8.17 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There is a National Grid high pressure gas pipeline located along the eastern boundary of the site.

M8.18 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M8.19 Restoration: The majority of the site is proposed to be restored to agriculture. A proportion of the site will be restored to woodland and associated grassland habitat.

M8.20 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • There is not a mineral operator promoting the proposed site and therefore the site is less deliverable than other sites that have been proposed for extraction.
  • Whilst the proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2020, the site would need to be phased with the other proposed site along Bilney Road in order to mitigate potential cumulative impacts. The site proposed in the two fields to the north (MIN 51 / MIN 13) is estimated to be operational from 2020 to 2036. Therefore, site MIN 08 is unlikely to be operational during the plan period.


(4) MIN 23 - land north of Back Lane, Beeston

Site Characteristics

  • The 15 hectare site is within the parish of Beeston with Bittering
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 500,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 'as soon as possible' and estimated the extraction rate to be 25,000 to 50,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within 10 to 20 years. Therefore the full mineral resource could be extracted within the plan period at the higher rate of extraction.
  • The site is proposed by Norfolk Gravel (trading as Carter Concrete Ltd) as a new site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 3
  • The site is 7.4km from Dereham and 10.2km from Swaffham, which are the nearest towns.

A reduced extraction area has been proposed of 11.9 hectares. The proposals is for a limit of the extraction approximately 100 metres north of the southern boundary to provide a buffer between the extraction area and the village of Beeston.

M23.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 132m from the site boundary. There are 42 sensitive receptors within 250m of the site boundary. However, the most southern part of the site is not proposed to be extracted. The nearest residential property is 198m from the extraction area and there are 12 sensitive receptors within 250m of the proposed extraction area. The settlement of Beeston is 132m away from the site boundary. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. The greatest impacts will be within 100 metres of a source, if uncontrolled. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include noise and dust assessments and mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts.

M23.2 Highway access: An off-road haul route is proposed east of the site to join Mileham Road (C221). Vehicles would then travel north up Mileham Road, then turn right onto Dereham Road (C222) which becomes Litcham Road (C222). Then turn right to travel south along the C229 Reed Lane, which is a designated lorry route, then continue travelling south on the C229 Honeypot Lane, which becomes Longham Road and then Station Road, and are all designated lorry routes. At the end of Station Road vehicles would turn right to travel west along the C470 Swaffham Road, to join the A47. The site is not within an AQMA. The estimated number of HGV movements is 10 to 15 per day. The Highway Authority have stated that HGV access onto the Mileham Road would not be acceptable as the road is sub-standard with poor visibility at the junction.

M23.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure and boundary loss, agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure and enclosed wetland meadow. The wider historic landscape character also includes mineral extraction, leisure/recreation and 18th to 20th century plantation woodland.

M23.4 The nearest Listed Building is the Grade II 'Moat House/Old Rectory' which is 170m away. There are 20 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. 15 of these are within the Litcham Conservation Area which is 1.24km from the site. There are two Scheduled Monuments within 2km of the site. They are 'Devil's Dyke' 1.96km from the site and 'Disc Barrow on Litcham Common' 1.11km from the site. There are no Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.


M23.5 Archaeology: Historic Environment records of isolated multi period finds exist close to the site boundary. The site is in a wider landscape with a significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, including settlements, and a number of moated sites. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.

M23.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site is sloping arable land with a fall towards the village of Beeston to the south. The site lies on the junction of two landscape character areas described as 'Beeston Plateau Farmland' and 'River Nar Tributary Farmland' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment. It lies within a wider open arable landscape with long views across open countryside. The site comes close to the edge of Beeston village and would be visible from Back Lane and Mill Drift. A number of houses lie along Back Lane as does the recreation ground. Whilst a number of mineral workings have been operated adjoining this site, there are concerns about the impact of working mineral on this land. Workings would be visually intrusive to the community of Beeston, and due to the sloping nature of the site, hard to screen. The use of screening or bunding to mitigate these landscape impacts would be intrusive in their own right and are unlikely to be effective. Mineral workings in this location would also affect the quiet enjoyment of the surrounding countryside.

M23.7 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M23.8 Ecology: The site is more than 5km from any SPA, SAC or Ramsar site. Therefore, there would be no likely significant effects on these sites.

M23.9 River Nar SSSI is 1.10km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the River combines the characteristics of a southern chalk stream and an East Anglian fen river. Together with the adjacent terrestrial habitats, the Nar is an outstanding river system of its type. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is also located up-gradient of the River Nar. Therefore the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M23.10 Horse Wood Mileham SSSI is 2.63km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that it is an ancient woodland with a structure of coppice-with-standards. The ground flora is exceptionally diverse and includes a number of rare and uncommon species in great abundance. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located in a different hydrological catchment to the SSSI. Therefore the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M23.11 Honeypot Wood, Wendling SSSI is 2.87km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that it is a good example of an ancient, coppiced, ash-maple wood. The wood has a vigorous shrub layer and a rich ground vegetation. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located in a different hydrological catchment to the SSSI. Therefore the SSSI would not be adversely affected.

M23.12 The nearest County Wildlife Site is CWS 964 'Warren Woods' which is 750m from the site boundary. The CWS is a broad-leaved semi-natural woodland. Due to the distance from the CWS there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the County Wildlife Site would not be adversely affected.

M23.13 The nearest ancient woodland site is Old Covert wood which is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS); it is 2.14km from the site boundary. Due to the distance from the ancient woodland site there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the ancient woodland would not be adversely affected.

M23.14 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Lowestoft formation – diamicton, overlying chalk formations. The site is unlikely to contain geodiversity priority features. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application.

M23.15 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. The site has a low risk of surface water flooding, with one location of surface water pooling in a 1 in 100 year rainfall event at the southern corner of the site. There is a surface water flow path crossing the southern corner of the site in a 1 in 1000 year rainfall event. Sand and gravel extraction is considered to be a 'water compatible' land use which is suitable in all flood zones. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M23.16 Hydrogeology: The site is located over a secondary (undifferentiated) aquifer (superficial deposits) and a principal aquifer (bedrock). However, there are no groundwater Source Protection Zones within the proposed site. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore no effect on water resources is expected.

M23.17 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 500 metres from the River Nar (Nar to confluence with Blackborough Drain), which is the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbody. The groundwater level in this area is many metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards the River Nar. If mineral is extracted from site MIN 23, it is expected to be processed on site, therefore the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across the river. Due to the distance of the site from the River Nar, it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into this waterbody from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 23.

M23.18 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There are no high pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M23.18 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M23.19 Restoration: No details on proposed restoration of the site have been provided. The preferred site restoration scheme would be to agriculture at a lower level with wide field margins, hedgerow reinforcement and tree planting.

M23.20 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • Mineral extraction at this site would have unacceptable landscape impacts, particularly in relation to views from Beeston. Due to the sloping topography of the site, the use of screening or bunding to mitigate these landscape impacts would be intrusive in their own right and are unlikely to be effective.
  • The Highway Authority have stated that HGV access onto the Mileham Road would not be acceptable as the road is sub-standard with poor visibility at the junction.


(5) MIN 200 - land west of Cuckoo Lane, Carbrooke

Site Characteristics

  • The 7.94 hectare site is within the parish of Carbrooke
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 300,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2025 and estimated the extraction rate to be 25,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within twelve years, which would be within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by 4 Leaf Enterprises as an extension to an existing site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 3
  • The site is 0.8km from Watton and 10.1km from both Attleborough and Dereham, which are the nearest towns

M200.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 144m from the site boundary, this is the only sensitive receptor within 250m of the site. The settlement of Carbrooke is 321m away. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. The greatest impacts will be within 100 metres of a source, if uncontrolled. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include noise and dust assessments and mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts.

M200.2 Highway access: The site would use the existing quarry access onto Mill Lane and then south onto the B1108 Norwich Road, which is a designated lorry route. The site is not within an AQMA. As a proposed extension to an existing site, the number of vehicle movements is expected to remain the same but continue for a longer period. The estimated number of HGV movements is 10 (in and out) per day. The proposed highway access is considered to be suitable by the Highway Authority.

M200.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with boundary loss. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure and boundary loss, agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure and enclosed wetland meadow. The wider historic landscape character also includes disused post-medieval military, agriculture with pre-18th century coaxial enclosure and 18th to 20th century plantation woodland.

M200.4 The nearest Listed Buildings are the Grade II Mill House and 'Windmill' which are 150m away. There are 27 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. Carbrooke Conservation Area is 670m from the site, within which many of the Listed Buildings are contained. The only Scheduled Monument within 2km of the site is the 'Site of Commandry of St John of Jerusalem' which is 700m away. There are no Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.

M200.5 Archaeology: There are no Historic Environment records within the site boundary, however this may just be due to a lack of investigations. The site is in a wider landscape with a significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, especially to the north around the settlement of Carbrooke. A scatter of finds was found following investigations on the existing site. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.


M200.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Wayland Plateau Farmland' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment. The site is a flat arable field bordered to the west by Mill Lane, to the east by Cuckoo Lane, with an existing permitted mineral extraction site to the south, and on the opposite of Mill Lane. To the north, there are arable fields with isolated woodland blocks up to the settlement of Carbrooke. There would be views from Mill Lane and Cuckoo Lane through gaps in the hedgerows; a screening scheme would need to address this issue together with longer views from the direction of Carbrooke.

M200.7 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M200.8 Ecology: The site is 4.47m from Thompson Water, Carr and Common SSSI which is part of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC and is outside the Impact Risk Zone for the SSSI. Due to this distance, no impacts on this SAC or SSSI are expected.

M200.9 Scoulton Mere SSSI is 2.72km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the swamp, fen and bog communities that occur on island in the mere and around the shore support a diverse flora including several rare and uncommon plants. Whilst the site is within the Impact Risk Zone for the SSSI, provided that no dewatering is proposed as part of the working scheme, no impacts on this SSSI are expected.

M200.10 Wayland Wood, Watton SSSI is 2.78km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the large wood contains entirely semi-natural stands and is still managed under a traditional coppicing system. The diverse flora is typical of ancient woodland and includes one national rarity. Whilst the site is within the Impact Risk Zone for the SSSI, provided that no dewatering is proposed as part of the working scheme, no impacts on this SSSI are expected.

M200.11 The nearest County Wildlife Site is CWS 2091 'Watton Airfield (Army training area) which is 610m from the site boundary. The CWS is an area of dense scrub with patches of unimproved basic grassland; crossed with tracks. Due to this distance, no impacts on this CWS are expected.

M200.12 The nearest ancient woodland sites are: Shepherds Fell, a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) which is 2.34 km from the site boundary, Hazel Hurn, a PAWS and Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) which is 2.47 km from the site boundary. Due to this distance, no impacts on these sites are expected.

M200.13 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Lowestoft formation – diamicton, overlying chalk formations. The site is unlikely to contain geodiversity priority features. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application.

M200.14 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. The site has a low risk of surface water flooding with two locations of surface water pooling in a 1 in 30 year rainfall event and a third location in a 1 in 1000 year rainfall event. Sand and gravel extraction is considered to be a 'water compatible' land use which is suitable in all flood zones. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M200.15 Hydrogeology: The site is located over a Secondary aquifer (undifferentiated) (superficial deposits) and a principal aquifer (bedrock). The site is within groundwater Source Protection Zone 2. The site is expected to be worked dry (above the water table) and dewatering is not proposed at the site. Therefore, no adverse impacts on hydrogeology are expected. However, due to the location of the site within SPZ2, a planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Hydrogeological Risk Assessment to identify any potential impacts to groundwater and appropriate mitigation measures.

M200.16 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 700 metres from Watton Brook, which is the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbody. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards Watton Brook. MIN 200 and the existing adjacent processing plant, which the sand and gravel would be transported to by internal haul route, are both some distance south of Watton Brook. Therefore, the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across this watercourse. Due to the distance of the site from Watton Brook, it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into this waterbody from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 200.

M200.17 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There are no high-pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M200.18 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M200.19 Restoration: The site is proposed to be restored to nature conservation with open grassland.

M200.20 Conclusion: Site MIN 200 is considered suitable to allocate for sand and gravel extraction. Development will be subject to compliance with the relevant Minerals and Waste Local Plan Policies and Specific Site Allocation Policy MIN 200.

(1) Specific Site Allocation Policy MIN 200 (land west of Cuckoo Lane, Carbrooke):

The site is allocated as a specific site for sand and gravel extraction. Development will be subject to compliance with the Minerals and Waste Local Plan policies and all the following requirements:

  • Submission of noise and dust assessments and a programme of mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts;
  • The existing processing plant and highway access from that site to be used; an application will need to assess potential impacts on the highway network of any crossing of Mill Lane for unprocessed material to the existing plant site;
  • The site will need to be phased with the adjacent permitted site so that only one site is worked for extraction at a time in accordance with a phased and progressive working and restoration scheme.
  • Submission of a progressive restoration scheme to a nature conservation afteruse to provide landscape and biodiversity gains;
  • Provision of opportunities during working for any geodiversity assets to studied, and if compatible with the landscape and ecology objectives an open face to be included within any restoration scheme for future scientific study;
  • Submission of a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required;
  • An appropriate archaeological assessment must be prepared in consultation with Norfolk County Council; this may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching. The archaeological assessment will be used by Norfolk County Council/Historic Environment Service to agree appropriate mitigation measures;
  • Submission of a detailed landscaping and screening scheme which ensure that views from Mill Lane, Cuckoo Lane and from the direction of Carbrooke, and the landscape generally, are acceptable and the settings of nearby listed buildings are protected;
  • The site will need to be phased with other sites in the area so that only one site is worked for extraction at a time; and
  • Submission of a Hydrogeological Risk Assessment to identify any potential impacts to groundwater and appropriate mitigation measures if required.


(39) MIN 116 - land at Woodrising Road, Cranworth

Site Characteristics

  • The 15.75 hectare site is within the parish of Cranworth
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 950,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has estimated the extraction rate to be 47,500 tonnes per annum but has not given a potential start date for extraction. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within 20 years, therefore approximately 855,000 tonnes could be extracted within the plan period if the site started operating in 2019.
  • The site is proposed by the landowner as a new site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 3
  • The site is 5.8km from Watton, 7.2km from Dereham and 8.8km from Attleborough, which are the nearest towns.

M116.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 61m from the site boundary. There are seven sensitive receptors within 250m of the site boundary and one of these is within 100m of the site boundary. The settlement of Woodrising is 627m away. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. The greatest impacts will be within 100 metres of a source, if uncontrolled. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include noise and dust assessments and mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts.

M116.2 Highway access: The site would use the C159 Wood Rising Road east to the B1108 Watton Road, which is a designated lorry route. The site is not within an AQMA. The estimated number of HGV movements is 18 per day. The site proposer has recognised that highway works, which would involve widening, passing places and appropriate signage would be required. The Highway Authority has raised concerns regarding the proposed highway access because the local road network is sub-standard and narrow. Woodrising Road would require widening and a right turn lane would be required at its junction with the B1108 to be made acceptable.

M116.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with boundary loss, with a relict element. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of 20th century agriculture with boundary loss and 20th century enclosure, agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure and enclosed wetland meadow. The wider historic landscape character also includes informal parkland, agriculture with pre-18th century irregular enclosure and 18th to 20th century plantation woodland.

M116.4 The nearest Listed Building is the Grade II 'Hurdle-maker's Cottage' which is 60m away. There are 23 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. The nearest Scheduled Monument is 'Woodrising Hall moated site' which is 780m away. There are four Scheduled Monuments within 2km of the site. There are no Conservation Areas or Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.

M116.5 Archaeology: There are no Historic Environment records within the site boundary, however this may just be due to a lack of investigations. The site is in a wider landscape with a significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, and is close to northern boundary of the former parkland surrounding Wood Rising Hall. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.


M116.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site is a large arable field. It has a 'domed plateau' and slopes downward to the north, east and south. There are several mature field Oaks within the field. The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Wayland Plateau Farmland' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment. The site is in an area of attractive gently rolling arable countryside. There is a woodland belt along the Blackwater valley to the north and several sizeable blocks of woodland to the west, south and south-west.

M116.7 There is a Public Right of Way adjacent to the northern boundary of the site (Cranworth BR6) and country roads along the western and close to the southern boundaries of the site. There is a good hedge along the western side of this road, helping to screen views from the west. Another country road runs parallel to the eastern boundary and has views over part of the site. There are dwellings with views over the site from this road, as well as two on the road to the south. The proposed development would be visually detrimental from these viewpoints. There are likely to be some distant, partially screened views from some dwellings to the north, from parts of Cranworth to the north-west and from a few of the houses in Woodrising to the west. Southburgh Church to the north-east also has a long-range view over the site.

M116.8 Hurdlemaker's Cottage is close to the southern boundary of the site. The occupiers are likely to suffer some visual intrusion were the site to be developed as a mineral working, especially in winter when the screening effect of their boundary planting would be less effective. Development would also have an adverse visual impact on the occupiers of Grove Farm, which is close to the western corner of the site. The dwellings along River Lane to the east of the site are further back and have views which would be partially screened by hedge trees but they would still experience visual intrusion. The visual intrusion on others further away would be of a lesser magnitude.

M116.9 Advanced tree planting is proposed to the south and east of the proposed site and a bund is proposed around the edge of the site. The proposed bunding along the western boundary would have an impact on the view across the lower-lying land from the road and the proposed bunding along the eastern boundary would have an impact on the views from the dwellings nearby.

M116.10 Ecology: The site is more than 5km from any SPA, SAC or Ramsar site. Therefore, there would be no likely significant effects on these sites.

M116.11 Potter's Carr, Cranworth SSSI is 1.16km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the site forms an excellent example of the carr woodland-wet grassland habitat complex characteristic of local river valleys and is unusual in supporting a nationally scarce woodland stand-type with a rich ground flora typical of ancient woodland. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table). Therefore, there would be no adverse impacts to the SSSI.

M116.12 Scoulton Mere SSSI is 1.84km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the swamp, fen and bog communities that occur on island in the mere and around the shore support a diverse flora including several rare and uncommon plants. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table). Therefore, there would be no adverse impacts to the SSSI.

M116.13 The nearest County Wildlife Site is CWS 2063 'Wood Rising Water Meadows' which is 520m from the site boundary. The CWS is within a narrow river valley and consists of grassland, crossed by a network of ditches, which are mostly managed as pasture. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table). Therefore, there would be no adverse impacts to the CWS.

M116.14 The nearest ancient woodland site is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) (unnamed) within Cranworth parish; it is 1.52km from the site boundary. Due to the distance from the ancient woodland site there would be no impacts from dust deposition. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore the ancient woodland would not be adversely affected.

M116.15 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Lowestoft formation – diamicton, Alluvium – clay, silt, sand and gravel, overlying chalk formations. The site is unlikely to contain geodiversity priority features. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application.

M116.16 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. The site has a low risk of flooding from surface water, with areas of surface water pooling in a 1 in 1000-year rainfall event. Sand and gravel extraction is considered to be a 'water compatible' land use which is suitable in all flood zones. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M116.17 Hydrogeology: The site is located over a Secondary aquifer (undifferentiated) and partially over a Secondary A aquifer (superficial deposits). The site is also located over a principal aquifer (bedrock). However, there are no groundwater Source Protection Zones within the proposed site. The site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore no effect on water resources is expected.

M116.18 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 600 metres from the River Blackwater, which is the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbody. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards the River Blackwater. If mineral is extracted from MIN 116, it is expected to be processed on-site. Therefore, the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across this watercourse. Due to the distance of the site from the River Blackwater, it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into this waterbody from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 116.

M116.19 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There are no high-pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M116.20 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M116.21 Restoration: The site is proposed to be restored to arable agriculture and woodland.

M116.22 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • Visual and amenity impact on the nearby dwellings would be unacceptable;
  • Local landscape impacts would be unacceptable;
  • The Highway Authority has raised concerns regarding the proposed highway access because the local road network is sub-standard and narrow. Woodrising Road would require widening and a right turn lane would be required at its junction with the B1108 to be made acceptable.
  • There is not a mineral operator promoting the proposed site and therefore the site is less deliverable than other sites that have been proposed for extraction.


(5) MIN 35 - land at Heath Road, Eccles, Quidenham LINK TO MAP FOR SITE MIN 35

Site Characteristics

  • The 7.5 hectare site is within the parish of Quidenham
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 500,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2020 and estimated the extraction rate to be 80,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within seven years, which would be within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by Frimstone Ltd as a new site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 4.
  • The site is 4.6km from Attleborough and 12.9km from Watton which are the nearest towns.

A reduced extraction area has been proposed of 4.38 hectares; the proposal is for a buffer area which moves the limit of extraction approximately 150 metres from the southern boundary and buffer areas on the east and west of the site.

M35.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 24m from the site boundary. There are 31 sensitive receptors within 250m of the site boundary (19 of these are units at the Oakwood Industrial Estate and 12 are residential properties). There are six residential properties within 100m of the site boundary. However, the southern part of the site is not proposed to be extracted, which increases the distance from the extraction area to residential properties. Therefore, the nearest residential property is 155m from the extraction area and there are 10 residential properties within 250m of the proposed extraction area. The 19 units within the Oakwood Industrial Estate would remain at the same distance from the extraction area – ranging from 37m to 245m. The settlement of Eccles is 269m away. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. The greatest impacts will be within 100 metres of a source, if uncontrolled. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include noise and dust assessments and mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts.

M35.2 Highway access: The site would access Harling Road (C827), which is a designated lorry route, and travel north to the junction with the A11. An improved access from the site to Harling Road at the junction with Heath Road is proposed. The site is not within an AQMA. The estimated number of HGV movements is 32 per day. The proposed highway access is considered to be suitable by the Highway Authority, subject to appropriate road improvements.

M35.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of 20th century agriculture with boundary loss, boundary loss with a relict element and 20th century enclosure; agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure. The wider historic landscape character also includes 20th century pastoral farming, modern built-up areas of linear settlements and small farm clusters, industry, mineral extraction, leisure/recreation (including the Snetterton Circuit) and woodland (carr woodland and 18th to 20th century woodland plantation).

M35.4 The nearest Listed Building is the Grade II* Church of St Mary which is 470m away. There are 13 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. Five of these are within the Quidenham Conservation Area which is 1.69km away. There nearest Scheduled Monument is 'Gallows Hill Tumulus' which is 150m away. There are two Scheduled monuments within 2km of the site. There are no Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.


M35.5 Archaeology: The site is located within an area of interest, and there are Historic Environment records of isolated multi-period finds and features including a bronze age barrow, within the site boundary, and a possible Roman road adjacent to the boundary. The site is in a wider landscape with a very significant number of finds and features from multiple periods. To the southeast there are a significant number of features and finds from multiple periods including those potentially linked to a medieval settlement and the site of the Bishop's Palace, as well as a number of WWII features related to Snetterton Airfield. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.

M35.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site is a field of rough meadow grass. The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Snetterton Heath Plateau farmland' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment.

M35.7 The site is bounded to the north by a large bund that screens a restored landfill and mineral extraction void. To the west is an area of deciduous woodland on the other side of Heath Road that runs along the western site boundary. Arable countryside is to the south and west. The existing landscape detractors mean that this could not be considered a tranquil, unspoilt area of countryside, although the field currently separates the houses at the south of Heath Road from the industrial estate on Harling Road to the north.

M35.8 There are several bungalows to the immediate south of the site. Although none of them face the site directly, the site would be noticeable from the garden of at least one. However, the proposal sets the limit of extraction approximately 150 metres from the southern boundary of the site, so as to allow the site to be screened in a way which would not be significantly detrimental to the views from the immediate south.

M35.9 Further south and to the south-east, there are cottages beside the road on the far side of the railway track. Without appropriate screening, the site would be visible from the upper floors of at least some of these properties. Although the existing bunding already screens out long-range views for them, any new bunding needs to be set back from the southern boundary so as not to have an adverse effect on their views over the field and the woodland to the west. The proposed limit of extraction means that there would be less difference between the views of the existing bunding and those of new bunding from the south and south-east of the site.

M35.10 A timber yard within the woodland to the west faces the site, although the trees partially screen the views, and the part of the site opposite would not be worked. Users of Heath Road, which ends for motorised traffic at the bungalows to the south, have medium-to-long-range views across the site as the site boundary with Heath Road is currently open. Screen bunding and advance hedge planting would therefore be required along the site boundary on Heath Road.

M35.11 An application for mineral extractions at this site would require a very carefully designed landscape scheme that addresses the visual impacts that may, unless controlled, potentially affect local residents. Substantial buffer zones would be required comprising advance planting of woodland copses and planting belts (to be retained on site restoration) with screen bunds in place surrounding the immediate area proposed for mineral extraction. The temporary bunds would need to be of adequate height to screen the upper story views from housing and the grading and the profiles, appearance and management of vegetation on temporary bunds would require careful treatment. It is important that these screening features are not visually intrusive as residents would have views of these across the existing agricultural field to the east and south west of the site and also from along the adjacent road.

M35.12 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M35.13 Ecology: Swangey Fen SSSI is 2.63km from the site boundary and is part of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC. The site is within the Impact Risk Zone for this SSSI. The SSSI citation states that the site contains an area of species-rich, spring-fed fen. Wet woodland and grassland surround the fen, increasing the interest of the site and helping to maintain a high water-table. The River Thet passes through the SSSI. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located up-gradient of Swangey Fen SSSI. Therefore, there would be no adverse effects on the integrity of the SAC.

M35.14 Kenninghall and Banham Fens with Quidenham Mere SSSI is 2.70km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the site occupies a section of the valley of the River Whittle. It consists of area of tall fen, species-rich fen and calcareous grassland and a deep natural mere. Additional interest is provided by areas of wet woodland and by an area of drier unmanaged fen. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located in a different hydrological catchment to the SSSI. Therefore, there would be no adverse impacts to the SSSI.

M35.15 East Harling Common SSSI is 2.13km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that the SSSI is of great importance for its system of periglacial ground ice depressions (pingos) retaining a relict community of aquatic beetles. This includes many species that are nationally scarce or rare. Floristically rich fen, a declining habitat, has developed in and round many of the depressions, and surrounding chalk grassland supports a diversity of plants, several of which are uncommon locally. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and is located in a different hydrological catchment to the SSSI. Therefore, there would be no adverse impacts to the SSSI.

M35.16 County Wildlife Site CWS 620 'Eccles Wood (north)' is adjacent to the site boundary; it is a recent (probably post-war) woodland dominated by oak and silver birch. CWS 621 'Eccles Wood (middle)' and CWS 622 'Eccles Wood (south) are both 120m from the site boundary. CWS 621 is a recent woodland of oak and birch with some old hazel coppice. CWS 622 is a mainly broad-leaved semi-natural woodland with some areas of scrub and tall herb fen. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry. A potential impact could be dust deposition from extraction, if uncontrolled. Therefore, a dust assessment and identification of appropriate mitigation measures will be required as part of the planning application process, to ensure that the CWSs are not adversely affected.

M35.17 There are no ancient woodland sites within 3km of the site.

M35.18 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Croxton Sand and gravel member, overlying chalk formations. There is the potential for vertebrate fossils because the site is close to a prolific find spot. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application. It would be useful to retain some open faces for scientific study during operational stages, and ideally after restoration, and have a 'watching brief' during the extraction phase in case features of potential geodiversity interest are uncovered.

M35.19 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. No areas of the site are at risk of flooding from surface water. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M35.20 Hydrogeology: The site is located over a Secondary A aquifer (superficial deposits) and a principal aquifer (bedrock). However, there are no groundwater Source Protection Zones within the proposed site. The proposed extraction site would be worked dry (above the water table) and therefore no effect on water resources is expected.

M35.21 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 1km from the Buckenham Stream, which is the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbody. The groundwater level in this area is many metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards the Buckenham Stream. If mineral is extracted from MIN 35, it is expected to be processed on site. Therefore, the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across the stream. Due to the distance of the site from the Buckenham Stream, it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into this waterbody from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 35.

M35.22 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is an underground electricity cable in the north-west corner of the site. There are no high-pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M35.23 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M35.24 Restoration: The site is proposed to be restored to a low-level for arable agriculture with conservation grassland and woodland planting on the southern boundary. Improving public access within the site should be incorporated into the restoration and aftercare scheme given the nearby location of housing.

M35.25 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • Mineral extraction at this site would have unacceptable local landscape impacts and screening and bunding could be intrusive in its own right. Whilst it may be possible to mitigate adverse landscape impacts through advance planting and bunding, this is uncertain and there are more acceptable alternative sites for sand and gravel extraction proposed in the Plan.

(2) MIN 102 - land at North Farm, south of the River Thet, Snetterton

Site Characteristics

  • The 58.21 hectare site is within the parish of Snetterton
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 980,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has estimated the extraction rate to be 35,000 tonnes per annum, but has not given a potential start date for extraction. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within 28 years. Therefore, 630,000 tonnes could be extracted within the plan period if the site started operating in 2019.
  • The site is proposed by the landowner as a new site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being Grade 4.
  • The site is 3km from Attleborough and 9.3km from Watton, which are the nearest towns.

M102.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 455m from the site boundary. The settlement of Shropham is 690m away. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. Therefore, no adverse amenity impacts are expected from the proposed mineral extraction.

M102.2 Highway access: The site would require an access road to be formed to the south to form a new access onto the C138 Hargham Road. Quarry traffic would then travel east to the junction with the A11. The position of the access onto Hargham Road has not been provided. The site is not within an AQMA. An estimate of the number of HGV movements per day has not been provided. The proposed highway access using Hargham Road is considered to be suitable by the Highway Authority.

M102.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is heath, woodland and Twentieth Century agriculture with enclosure and boundary loss with a relict element. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of 20th century agriculture with enclosure, boundary loss and boundary loss with a relict element, 20th century pastoral farming, enclosed managed wetland meadow, drained parliamentary fen enclosure and woodland (ancient woodland and 18th to 20th century plantation woodland). The wider historic landscape character also includes agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure, modern built-up areas of small farm clusters, a reservoir, industry, leisure/recreation and mineral extraction.

M102.4 The nearest Listed Building is the Grade II North Farmhouse which is 550m away. There are 19 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. The only Scheduled Monument within 2km of the site is the 'Wayside Cross at the north end of Whitecross Drift' which is 550m away. There are no Conservation Areas or Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.

M102.5 Archaeology: Historic Environment records of cropmarks and isolated multi period finds, including a round barrow exist within the site boundary, however the site has not been subject to a programme of investigation. The site is in a wider landscape with a very significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, with a number of Bronze age finds and features to the north of the site. To the south there are the remains of a medieval moated enclosure and windmill. To the southeast there are a significant number of features and finds from multiple periods including those potentially linked to a medieval settlement and the site of the Bishop's Palace, as well as a number of WWII features related to Snetterton Airfield. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.

M102.6 Landscape: Parts of the site are within a Core River Valley; the most significant area is the western flank of the site which is just over 3.5 hectares of the site area. The site is not located within the AONB or any other designated landscape feature. The site is within the landscape character areas described as 'River Thet River Valley' and 'Harling Heathlands (The Brecks)' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment.

M102.7 The site is gently rolling in character, rising up from the north and west to a plateau at the east of the site. The surrounding landscape is predominantly rolling arable farmland. The Thet Valley to the north and west is well wooded. There are also blocks of woodland, most significantly Barnes Wood Plantation to the east of the site. The village of Shropham is to the west and the hamlet of North End is to the south-west. A country road runs on an east-west axis to the south of the site. The Dogs Trust animal rescue centre is located so the south east of the site. To the south of the site is North Farm, there is a facility for training horses. The fields close to the farm are dedicated to horse husbandry, and have a parkland feel. Views from the west, north and east would be largely screened by woodland. The main impact would be on the residents at North Farm and the buildings close-by. However, the combination of landform and woodland would help to minimise the visual impact of mineral extraction on this site.

M102.8 It is likely that mineral extraction within the areas covered by the Core River Valley designation would be unacceptable due to landscape impacts. Any working scheme should avoid removal of the woodland areas within the site for the same reason. Extraction on the sloping valley of the River Thet is likely to have wider landscape impacts which would be difficult to effectively mitigate through screening.

M102.9 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M102.10 Ecology: Swangey Fen SSSI is adjacent to the site boundary and is part of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC. The SSSI citation states that the site contains an area of species-rich, spring-fed fen. Wet woodland and grassland surround the fen, increasing the interest of the site and helping to maintain a high water-table. The River Thet passes through the SSSI. 56% of Swangey Fen SSSI is currently in an 'unfavourable recovering' condition and 44% is in favourable condition. Mineral extraction in the area adjacent to Swangey Fen SSSI would not be acceptable. The site would need to be worked dry (above the water table), with a depth of unsaturated material above the water table required as a vertical buffer. Due to the proximity of Swangey Fen SSSI de-watering would not be able to take place on the site. The potential exists for adverse impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 102, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential impacts, including from dust deposition and hydrogeology, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application. Any planning application would need to demonstrate that there would be no adverse effects on the integrity of the SAC. Due to the precautionary principle in relation to the Habitats Regulations, if effects to the SAC are judged as uncertain then development should not take place. Due to the proximity of the proposed site to the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC, mitigation measures would be required to the proposed mineral extraction operation and impacts are uncertain. It is therefore not possible, at the screening stage of the HRA of the M&WLPR, to conclude that there would be no likely significant effects from mineral extraction at site MIN 102.

M102.11 County Wildlife Site CWS 804 'North of Red Bridge' is adjacent to the site boundary; it consists of a mixture of dry and wet woodland, with mature alder carr, with areas of ungrazed grassland and open fen. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 102, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential impacts, including from dust deposition and hydrogeology, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M102.12 County Wildlife Site CWS 639 'Fen Plantation' is 150m from the site boundary; it is an area of woodland consisting of alder carr (wet woodland) to the west, grading into drier broad-leaved woodland and then mixed woodland to the east. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 102, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential impacts, including from dust deposition and hydrogeology, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M102.13 County Wildlife Site CWS 645 'Old Gravel Works' is 40m from the site boundary; it contains two eutrophic lakes which held a population of Canada Geese when last surveyed. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 102, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential hydrogeological impacts, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M102.14 County Wildlife Site CWS 809 'Shropham Fen' is 100m from the site boundary; it consists of an area of marshy and diverse alder carr with peripheral areas of drier woodland and of species-poor marshy neutral grassland or fen. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 102, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential impacts, including from dust deposition and hydrogeology, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M102.15 The nearest ancient woodland sites is an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) (unnamed) within Shropham parish; it is 1.48km from the site boundary. Due to the distance from the ancient woodland there would be no impacts from dust deposition. An assessment of potential hydrogeological impacts, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M102.16 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Croxton sand and gravel member, Lowestoft formation – diamicton, overlying chalk formations. There is the potential for vertebrate fossils because the site is close to a prolific find spot. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application. It would be useful to retain some open faces for scientific study during the operational stages, and ideally after restoration, and have a 'watching brief' during the extraction phase in case features of potential geodiversity interest are uncovered.

M102.17 Flood Risk: The majority (97%) of the site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. A small part of the northern boundary of the site with the River Thet is in Flood Zone 2 (medium risk) and Flood Zone 3 (high risk) for flooding from rivers. The site has a low risk of surface water flooding with a few locations of surface water pooling in a 1 in 30 and 1 in 100 year rainfall event. In a 1 in 1000 year event a surface water flow path develops between the north of the site and the River Thet. Sand and gravel extraction is considered to be a 'water compatible' land use which is suitable in all flood zones. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area; the site boundary with the River Thet is the boundary of the East Harling Internal Drainage Board.

M102.8 Hydrogeology: The site is located partially over a Secondary A aquifer and partially over a Secondary (undifferentiated) aquifer (superficial deposits). The site is also located over a principal aquifer (bedrock). The western part of the site is within groundwater Source Protection Zones 2 and 3. The rest of the site is not within a groundwater SPZ. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Hydrogeological Risk Assessment to identify any potential impacts to groundwater and appropriate mitigation measures.

M102.9 Water Framework Directive: The site is adjacent to the River Thet and Buckenham Stream, which are the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbodies. The groundwater level within mineral workings in this area is several metres below ground level. Therefore, it is not expected that overland flows would take place from the site towards the watercourses. As screening bunds form part of mineral extraction sites if any flow did occur, these bunds would form a barrier that would to prevent any flow moving down slope until infiltration took place. MIN 102 is adjacent to the River Thet and Buckenham Stream and the potential for silt ingress to these waterbodies exists, during the extraction phase, although screening bunds would form a physical barrier. Therefore given the likely physical barriers related to mineral operations the potential for silt ingress to nearby watercourses is negligible.

M102.10 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There are no high-pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M102.11 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M102.12 Restoration: No restoration proposals for the site have been submitted. A restoration scheme likely to be found acceptable would be agriculture with wide field margins, and enhanced woodland planting to provide biodiversity and ecological gains. Due to the expected depth of extraction, it is recognised that restoration to arable is likely to require the use of imported inert material to provide a suitable profile.

M102.13 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • Even though the site was allocated in the Minerals Site Specific Allocations DPD in 2013, there is not a mineral operator promoting the proposed site and therefore the site is less deliverable than other sites that have been proposed for extraction.
  • Due to the proximity of the site to Swangey Fen SSSI (part of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC), there is the potential for unacceptable adverse effects on the SSSI from the proposed mineral extraction.
  • Whilst it may be technically possible to design a site where there would not be any adverse effects on the SSSI or SAC, this is a significant constraint to the development of the site and therefore the site is considered to be less deliverable than other sites that have been proposed for extraction.


(4) MIN 201 - land at Swangey Farm, north of North Road, Snetterton

Site Characteristics

  • The 38.19 hectare site is within the parishes of Snetterton and Quidenham
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 590,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 'as soon as possible' and estimated the extraction rate to be 200,000 to 250,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within 2 to 3 years, which would be within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by Breedon Southern Ltd as a new site.
  • The site is currently in agricultural use and the Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the northern part of the site as Grade 4 and the southern part of the site as Grade 3.
  • The site is 2.6km from Attleborough and 10.2km from Watton, which are the nearest towns.

M201.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 82m from the site boundary. There are six sensitive receptors within 250m of the site boundary, and three of these are within 100m of the site boundary. The settlement of North End is 831m from the site. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250m from the nearest dust generating activities. The greatest impacts will be within 100 metres of a source, if uncontrolled. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include noise and dust assessments and mitigation measures to deal appropriately with any amenity impacts.

M201.2 Highway access: It is proposed to construct a new access road from the site across the landowner's property to the south to form a new access onto the C138 Hargham Road, which is a designated lorry route close to its junction with the A11. Quarry traffic would then travel east to the junction with the A11. The position of the access onto Hargham Road has not yet been selected by the site proposer. The site is not within an AQMA. The estimated number of HGV movements is 70 per day. A proposed highway access using Hargham Road is considered to be suitable by the Highway Authority.

M201.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is Twentieth Century agriculture with boundary loss with a relict element and agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of 20th century agriculture with enclosure, boundary loss and boundary loss with a relict element, drained parliamentary fen enclosure and 18th to 20th century plantation woodland. The wider historic landscape character also includes agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure, modern built-up areas of small farm clusters, heath, informal parkland and mineral extraction.

M201.4 The nearest Listed Building and Scheduled Monument is the 'Wayside Cross at the north end of Whitecross Drift' which is 20m from the site boundary. There are 15 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. There are 3 Scheduled Monuments within 2km of the site. There are no Conservation Areas or Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.

M201.5 Archaeology: Historic Environment records of isolated multi-period finds and features exist within the site boundary, including a barrow, these were found during a programme of fieldwalking in the 1990's. The site is in a wider landscape with a very significant number of finds and features from multiple periods, with a number of Bronze age finds and features to the northwest of the site. To the south there are a number of finds from the fieldwalking programme. To the southeast there are a significant number of features and finds from multiple periods including those potentially linked to a medieval settlement and the site of the Bishop's Palace, as well as a number of WWII features related to Snetterton Airfield. Therefore, there is the potential that unknown archaeology exists on the site and an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. The archaeology assessment may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching.

M201.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The site is currently an agricultural field. The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Harling Heaths (The Brecks)' in the Breckland Landscape Character Assessment.

M201.7 The site slopes downwards to the north-east towards Swangey Fen, with the south-western corner being on a relatively flat plateau. The surrounding landscape is predominantly rolling arable farmland. The Thet Valley to the north is well wooded. The southern boundary of the site is bordered by North Road which comes from the hamlet of North End to the west of the site and becomes a private track at the eastern extent of the site. There are a small number of properties in North End and along North Road, including North Farm. The northern boundary of the site is adjacent to Barnes Oak Plantation, and an area of wet woodland within Swangey Fen. There is a small area of woodland within the northern part of the site, and this should be retained. Swangey Farm is located just over 100 metres from the north-eastern corner of the site. The A11 is approximately 290 metres east of the site. The Dogs Trust animal rescue centre is approximately 50 metres south of the south-western corner of the site on the opposite side of North Road.

M201.8 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M201.9 Ecology: Swangey Fen SSSI is adjacent to the northern site boundary and is part of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC. The SSSI citation states that the site contains an area of species-rich, spring-fed fen. Wet woodland and grassland surround the fen, increasing the interest of the site and helping to maintain a high water-table. The River Thet passes through the SSSI. 56% of Swangey Fen SSSI is currently in an 'unfavourable recovering' condition and 44% is in favourable condition. Mineral extraction in the area adjacent to Swangey Fen SSSI would not be acceptable. The site would need to be worked dry, with a depth of unsaturated material above the water table required as a vertical buffer. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 201, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential impacts, including from dust deposition and hydrogeology, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application. Any planning application would need to demonstrate that there would be no adverse effects on the integrity of the SAC. Due to the precautionary principle in relation to the Habitats Regulations, if effects to the SAC are judged as uncertain then development should not take place. Due to the proximity of the proposed site to the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC, mitigation measures would be required to the proposed mineral extraction operation and impacts are uncertain. It is therefore not possible, at the screening stage of the HRA of the M&WLPR, to conclude that there would be no likely significant effects from mineral extraction at site MIN 201.

M201.10 Old Buckenham Fen SSSI is 2.95km from the site boundary and the site is within the Impact Risk Zone for the SSSI. The SSSI citation states that the central part of this valley fen site consists of a species-rich managed reedbed surrounding a small, natural mere. Around the margins of the fen basin are areas of species-rich scrub, drier fen and cattle-grazed meadows. The meadows are divided by a network of dykes and are used by wading birds. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 201, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential hydrogeological impacts, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M201.11 The nearest County Wildlife Site is CWS 639 'Fen Plantation', which is 150m from the site boundary. The CWS is an area of woodland consisting of alder carr (wet woodland) to the west, grading into drier broad-leaved woodland and then mixed woodland to the east. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 201, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential impacts, including from dust deposition and hydrogeology, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M201.12 The nearest ancient woodland site is an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) (unnamed) within Shropham parish, which is 2.45 km from the site boundary. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 201, if uncontrolled. An assessment of potential hydrogeological impacts, together with appropriate mitigation would be required as part of any planning application.

M201.13 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Croxton sand and gravel member, overlying chalk formations. There is the potential for vertebrate fossils because the site is close to a prolific find spot. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application. It would be useful to retain some open faces for scientific study during operational stages, and ideally after restoration, and have a 'watching brief' during the extraction phase in case features of potential geodiversity interest are uncovered.

M201.14 Flood Risk: The site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. The site has a low risk of surface water flooding, with one location of surface water pooling in a 1 in 30 year rainfall event. Sand and gravel extraction is considered to be a 'water compatible' land use which is suitable in all flood zones. The site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M201.14 Hydrogeology: The site is located over a Secondary A aquifer (superficial deposits) and a principal aquifer (bedrock). However, there are no Groundwater Source Protection Zones within the proposed site.

M201.15 Water Framework Directive: The site is approximately 100 metres from the Buckenham Stream which is the nearest Water Framework Directive waterbody. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards the Buckenham Stream. If mineral is extraction from site MIN 201 it is expected to be processed on site. Therefore the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported across this waterbody. MIN 201 is close to the Buckenham Stream. Therefore, mineral extraction would need to be set back from the stream and not take place on the northern part of the site. Screening bunds would also provide a physical barrier during the extraction phase. It is considered that with these measures there would not be a pathway for silt ingress into this waterbody from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 201.

M201.16 Utilities infrastructure: There are no Anglian Water sewerage assets or water assets within the site. There is no electricity transmission infrastructure within the site. There are no high pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M201.17 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M201.18 Restoration: The site is proposed to be restored to agriculture with some areas of nature conservation.

M201.19 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • There is a scheduled monument 20 metres from the southern boundary of the site on the opposite side of North Road; it is considered that the site would be within the setting of this monument and that mineral extraction and the probable location of the processing plant site would harm the setting of the monument and its significance, and cause unacceptable impacts to the historic environment.
  • Due to the proximity of the site to Swangey Fen SSSI (part of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC), there is the potential for unacceptable adverse effects on the SSSI from the proposed mineral extraction.
  • Whilst it may be technically possible to design a site where there would not be any adverse effects on the SSSI or SAC, this is a significant constraint to the development of the site and therefore the site is considered to be less deliverable than other sites that have been proposed for extraction.


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