Preferred Options consultation document

Ended on the 30th October 2019
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Great Yarmouth sites

(2) MIN 203 - land north of Welcome Pit, Burgh Castle

Site Characteristics

  • The 4.38 hectare site is within the parish of Burgh Castle
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 280,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2021 and estimated the extraction rate to be 20,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within fourteen years which would be within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by Folkes Plant and 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 3.3km from Great Yarmouth and 3.9km from Gorleston-on-Sea which are the nearest urban areas.

M203.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 237m from the site boundary. There are four sensitive receptors within 250m of the site boundary. A caravan holiday park is adjacent to the site boundary. The nearest settlements are Burgh Castle, which is about 870 metres to the north and Belton, about 950 metres to the south. Even without mitigation, adverse dust impacts from sand and gravel sites are uncommon beyond 250 metres 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.

M203.2 Highway access: The site would use the existing site access route onto the C603 Butt Lane, continue south on the C603 Stepshort and east onto C620 Belton New Road to the junction with the A143 Beccles 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 12 per day with 20 MGV/LGV movements per day. The Highway Authority has raised concerns regarding the proposed highway access because the local road network is sub-standard and narrow.

M203.3 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 boundary loss and enclosure, agriculture with 18th to 19th Century enclosure, and 19th to 20th century drained coastal reclamation and enclosure. The wider historic landscape character also includes a historic earthwork, historic religious institution, mineral extraction, modern leisure and recreation (holiday caravan parks), modern built-up areas of small farm clusters, industry, a horticultural nursery, a stud farm and woodland (including alder carr woodland and 18th to 20th Century plantation).

M203.4 The nearest Listed Building is Grade II Old Hall Farmhouse which is 880m away. There are 19 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. The nearest Scheduled Monument is 'Burgh Castle Roman fort, vicus, pre-conquest monastery, Norman motte and Bailey castle' which is 650m away. There are 2 Scheduled Monuments within 2km of the site. Halvergate Marshes Conservation Area is 1.13km from the site and Haddiscoe Conservation Area is 1.01km 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.

M203.5 Archaeology: The Historic Environment Record contains records of isolated multi-period finds within the site; however the majority of the site is identified as an area with no archaeological finds or features. The site has been subject to an archaeological investigation by trial trenches and only very limited archaeological finds or features were found. Norfolk County Council's Historic Environment Service has therefore advised that no further archaeological work would be required at the site.

M203.5 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, a Core River Valley or any other designated landscape feature. The boundary of the Broads Authority Executive Area is approximately 780 metres to the west and 930 metres to the north. The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Hobland Settled Farmland' in the Great Yarmouth Borough Landscape Character Assessment.

M203.6 Rectangular in shape, the site runs parallel to the northern boundary of the existing quarry and adjoins a Holiday Park to the east. The site is currently bounded by a bund to the northern edge, hedgerow and trees to the eastern boundary between the site and the holiday park and the existing quarry operations to the south and west, separated from the south by additional bunding. There are no notable landscape features within the site, although some additional new planting has been implemented along the western boundary.

M203.7 The wider landscape is arable to the north with approximately rectangular field divisions, delineated by gappy native hedgerows and access tracks. Burgh Castle itself lies in two area of urbanisation, one area clustered to the south around the junctions of Butt Lane and Mill Road, and one to the north, more linear in scope along High Road. Beyond this, the landscape is predominantly shaped by the River Yare and the Broads to the north and west and by the urban areas of Bradwell to the east and Belton to the south.

M203.8 Long distance views of the site are very limited and at best some glimpsed views may be possible from High Road to the north of Mill Road to the east. These views, however, would be at such a distance as to not be discernible. Therefore, the proposed extension to the existing mineral working is unlikely to have any discernible impact on the surrounding landscape.

M203.9 There are no Public Rights of Way within or adjacent to the site.

M203.10 Ecology: The site is 1km from Breydon Water SSSI, which is part of the Breydon Water SPA and Ramsar site. The SSSI citation states that Breydon Water is an inland tidal estuary and extensive areas of mud are exposed at low tide forming intertidal flats. Large numbers of wildfowl and waders are attracted to an abundant food supply when on passage and during the winter months. Several wintering wildfowl reach nationally important population levels. There is also considerable botanical interest with small areas of saltmarsh, reedbeds and brackish water communities in the surrounding borrow dykes. The invertebrate fauna is rich and includes one scarce species of snail. The site is within the 5km Impact Risk Zone for Breydon Water SSSI, SPA and SAC. The proposed extraction site is located in a different hydrological catchment to Breydon Water and therefore would not adversely affect the hydrology of the designated sites. Due to the distance of the proposed extraction site to the SSSI, noise limits, operational hours, vehicle movements and on-site lighting could be suitably controlled through planning conditions to ensure noise and lighting would not disturb the birds on the designated sites. Therefore no adverse effects are expected on the SSSI, SPA or Ramsar site.

M203.11 The site is 3.63km from The Broads SAC, Broadland SPA and Ramsar site. The proposed extraction site is located outside the 3km Impact Risk Zone for mineral development, therefore no likely significant effects are expected on the SAC, SPA or Ramsar site.

M203.12 Halvergate Marshes SSSI is 1.72km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that Halvergate Marshes forms a large expanse of traditionally managed grazing/grass marshes with their intersecting system of drainage ditches. A well-developed band of woodland of woodland occurs along the upland marsh margin and small areas of unimproved pasture, wet fen meadow, reedbed and alder carr add to the diversity of the habitat. The ditches are of outstanding importance for nature conservation and show a transition from fresh to brackish conditions. The ditches support an outstanding assemblage of plants and a rich invertebrate fauna. Halvergate Marshes support internationally important numbers of wintering Bewick's swan and nationally important populations of breeding and wintering birds. Halvergate Marshes forms part of the Broads SAC, SPA and Ramsar site. It also forms part of Breydon Water SPA and Ramsar site. The proposed extraction site is located in a different hydrological catchment to Halvergate Marshes SSSI. Due to the distance of the proposed extraction site to the SSSI, noise limits, operational hours, vehicle movements and on-site lighting could be suitably controlled through planning conditions to ensure noise and lighting would not disturb the birds on the SSSI. Therefore there would be no adverse impacts to the SSSI.

M203.13 The nearest County Wildlife Site is CWS 2184 'Bremar Pony Stud' which is 570m from the site boundary. The CWS is an area of species-rich marshy and neutral grassland close to the River Waveney. The site is grazed. Due to this distance, no impacts on this CWS are expected.

M203.14 There are no ancient woodland sites within 3km of the site.

M203.15 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Happisburgh Glacigenic formation, Lowestoft Formation diamicton, overlying Crag Group-sand and gravel. There is significant potential for vertebrate fossils within the Crag Group. 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.

M203.16 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 one area of surface water pooling in a 1 in 100 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.

M203.17 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.

M203.18 Water Framework Directive: The site is within the catchment of Fritton Lake, a Water Framework Directive waterbody, but the site is approximately 3.2km from Fritton Lake. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards Fritton Lake. MIN 203 and the existing adjacent processing plant, which the mineral would be transported to by internal haul route, are both located a considerable distance from Fritton Lake. Therefore, the sand and gravel to be processed would not be transported close to Fritton Lake. Due to the distance of the site from Fritton Lake it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into Fritton Lake from any future sand and gravel extraction within site MIN 203.

M203.19 Utilities infrastructure: There are no 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.

M203.20 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M203.21 Restoration: The site is proposed to be restored to open water fringed with reedbeds and gently sloping margins sown with species-rich grassland.

M203.22 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • The highway access is considered unsuitable by the Highway Authority because the local road network is sub-standard and narrow and due to the properties either side of the road there would be little opportunity for suitable highway improvements. There are more acceptable alternative sites for sand and gravel extraction proposed in the Plan.


(45) MIN 38 - land at Waveney Forest, Fritton

Site Characteristics

  • The 96.35 hectare site is within the parish of Fritton and St Olaves
  • The estimated sand and gravel resource at the site is 1,870,000 tonnes
  • The proposer of the site has given a potential start date of 2020 and estimated the extraction rate to be between 85,000 to 120,000 tonnes per annum. Based on this information the full mineral resource at the site could be extracted within 16 to 22 years, therefore at least 1,360,000 tonnes could be extracted within the plan period.
  • The site is proposed by Brett Group as a new site.
  • The site is currently a plantation woodland.
  • The Agricultural Land Classification scheme classifies the land as being mainly non-agricultural land with the west of the site Grade 3.
  • The site is 6.5km from Gorleston-on-Sea and 6.9km from Great Yarmouth, which are the nearest towns.

A reduced extraction area has been proposed of 43.11 hectares. The proposal is that there are two separate extraction areas; one on the southern part of the site and another in the north eastern part of the site. The proposal allows for a buffer between the extraction area and the properties on New Road. The extraction areas also avoid the locally listed heritage assets, and the remains of the railway line.

M38.1 Amenity: The nearest residential property is 13m from the site boundary. There are 78 sensitive receptor within 250m of the site boundary and 30 of these are within 100m of the site boundary. The settlement of Fritton is 26m away and St Olaves is 368m away. However, the land adjacent to New Road is not proposed to be extracted. Therefore the nearest residential property is 112m from the extraction area and there are 34 sensitive receptors within 250m of the proposed extraction area (only one of these is within 100m of the 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.

M38.2 Highway access: The site would use a new haul route access south of the site onto the A143 Beccles Road, which is a designated lorry route, (junction to be approximately opposite the access to PROW Fritton and St Olaves BR5). The site is not within an AQMA. The estimated number of HGV movements is an average of 30 per day up to a maximum of 50 per day. The proposed highway access is considered to be suitable by the Highway Authority, subject to a right hand turn lane on the A143.

M38.3 Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is 18th to 20th Century plantation woodland. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of 20th century agriculture with enclosure, boundary loss and boundary loss with a relict element; pastoral farming, and agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure. The wider historic landscape character also includes modern built up areas of linear settlements, small farm clusters, nucleated clusters and urban development; and drained reclaimed enclosed land (rectilinear enclosure from 19th to 20th century). The wider historic landscape character also includes drained enclosed rectilinear grazing marsh (17th to 20th century enclosure), a historic earthwork, leisure/recreation, informal parkland, sea defences, saltings, a reservoir and woodland (18th to 19th century plantation woodland, carr woodland and regenerated alder carr woodland).

M38.4 The nearest Listed Building is the Grade II* Drainage Pump which is 260m away. There are 20 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. There are two locally listed heritage assets within the site, the remains of a WW2 firing range and a concrete railway bridge, although these are not within the proposed extraction areas. The nearest Scheduled Monument is St Olave's Priory, which is 390m away. There are 2 Scheduled Monuments within 2km of the site. Halvergate Marshes Conservation Area is adjacent to the site boundary and Haddiscoe Conservation Area is 330m 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.

M38.5 Archaeology: This site could reveal nationally important remains for early and middle Pleistocene early human settlements in NW Europe, perhaps linking to finds at Norton Subcourse and Pakefield (in Suffolk). There are Historic Environment records of features in the site most of which are linked to a WW2 military site possibly a training site, within the site boundary. The proposer of the site has indicated two extraction areas within the wider site area; neither the local listed features (remains of a WW2 firing range, and a former railway bridge) are within these extraction areas. A number of undesignated heritage assets have been provisionally identified which may be linked to the WW2 training area. The site is currently a commercial forestry plantation within which felling operations take place, which involve the use of heavy vehicles and earth moving operations. While these operations may have degraded the undesignated heritage assets, good practice for tree felling operations states that archaeological features should be protected. Therefore, an assessment of the significance of archaeological remains would be required at any planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. However, the Norfolk Historic Environment Service have stated that they consider that no appropriate mitigation or modification of the site would be able to prevent harm to the undesignated heritage assets which as a whole make up the significance of the WW2 training area, of which few examples remain.

M38.6 Landscape: The site is not located within the AONB, or a Core River Valley. 43 hectares of the site are within the Broads Authority Executive Area, including one of the extraction areas, and part of the other; the NPPF states that local planning authorities should "as far as practicable, provide for the maintenance of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside the Broads". The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Waveney Rural Wooded Valley' in the Great Yarmouth Borough Landscape Character Assessment. The Broads Authority Landscape Character Assessment classifies the part of the site within the Broads as outside the 'St Olaves to Burgh Castle' landscape character area. The proposal is that a screen of trees would be retained between the extraction areas and the 'St Olaves to Burgh Castle' landscape character area to the west and north of the site and protect long distance views.

M38.7 The majority of the site comprises woodland, split between a larger area of conifer plantation, with remnant areas of heath, on the higher land and broadleaf woodland on the valley floor. An area of marshland/reedbed along the river edge is excluded from the proposed site. Expansive views of the afforested margins of the site can be seen across the marshes from the railway, the A149 and from the public rights of way along the Rivers Waveney and Yare and the New Cut. In addition, views of the edge of the conifer plantation can be seen from the edge of Fritton and New Road. The higher areas of the site within the coniferous plantations, generally the land to the south and east, would be screened by the retention of a screen of significant blocks of coniferous woodland with additional woodland planting.

M38.8 The proposed haul route accesses the site from the south from the A143. Although there are highway verges with hedges and mature trees along the highway corridor, the bunding and screening of the haul route would need to be designed carefully to ensure that the impact on the setting of the Waveney Forest is acceptable and the tarmac surfacing of the road (necessary for dust suppression) would add an urbanising element to the landscape. However with the removal of the road and removal of the screen bunds on restoration the impacts are considered acceptable in landscape terms.

M38.9 A landscape and visual impact assessment of the proposed development from the wider Broads landscape would be required at any planning application stage. The landscape mitigation, restoration proposals and design approach would need to be informed by this assessment and by the relevant Landscape Character Assessments.

M38.10 There is a Public Right of Way adjacent to part of the western boundary of the site (Old Parish of Herringfleet FP1). There is a PRoW adjacent to the northern boundary and the north eastern boundary of the site (Fritton and St Olaves BR4 and Fritton and St Olaves FP4a). These PRoWs are the only public access within Waveney Forest, the plantation is not an 'Open Access' area in relation to the CRoW Act.

M38.11 Ecology: The site is 2.17km from Breydon Water SPA and Ramsar site. Breyon Water is an inland tidal estuary and it has extensive areas of mud-flats that are exposed at low tide and these form the only tidal flats on the east coast of Norfolk. There are also extensive areas of floodplain grassland adjacent to the intertidal areas. Breydon Water is internationally important for wintering waterbirds, some of which feed in the Broadland SPA that adjoins this site at Halvergate Marshes. The proposed extraction site is within the 5km Impact Risk Zone for these designated sites. The proposed extraction site is located in a different hydrological catchment to Breydon Water and therefore would not adversely affect the hydrology of the designated sites. Due to the distance from the proposed extraction site to Breydon Water the birds on the designated site would not be disturbed by noise or lighting from mineral extraction operations. Therefore, no adverse effects are expected on the SPA or Ramsar site.

M38.12 The site is 2.69km from The Broads SAC, Broadland SPA and Ramsar site and the proposed extraction site is within the 3km Impact Risk Zone for these designated sites. The SPA, SAC and Ramsar are a low lying wetland complex which includes the river valley systems of the Bure, Yare and Waveney and their major tributaries. The distinctive open landscape comprises a complex and interlinked mosaic of wetland habitats including open water, reedbeds, carr woodland, grazing marsh and fen meadow, forming one of the finest marshland complexes in the UK. The differing types of management of the vegetation for reed, sedge and marsh hay, coupled with variations in hydrology and substrate, support an extremely diverse range of plant communities. The area is of international importance for a variety of wintering and breeding raptors and waterbirds associated with extensive lowland marshes.

M38.13 The proposed extraction site is located in a different hydrological catchment to the designated sites and therefore would not adversely affect their hydrology. Due to the distance from the proposed extraction site to the SSSI the designated sites would not be affected by dust deposition and the birds on the designated sites would not be disturbed by noise or lighting from mineral extraction operations. Therefore, no adverse effects are expected on the SPA, SAC or Ramsar site.

M38.14 Halvergate Marshes SSSIs is 2.22km from the site boundary. The SSSI citation states that Halvergate Marshes forms a large expanse of traditionally managed grazing/grass marshes with their intersecting system of drainage ditches. A well-developed band of woodland occurs along the upland marsh margin and small areas of unimproved pasture, wet fen meadow, reedbed and alder carr add to the diversity of the habitat. The ditches are of outstanding importance for nature conservation and show a transition from fresh to brackish conditions. The ditches support an outstanding assemblage of plants and a rich invertebrate fauna. Halvergate Marshes support internationally important numbers of wintering Bewick's swan and nationally important populations of breeding and wintering birds. The proposed extraction site is located in a different hydrological catchment to Halvergate Marshes SSSI. Due to the distance from the proposed extraction site to the SSSI, the birds on the SSSI would not be disturbed by noise or lighting from mineral extraction operations. Therefore, there would be no adverse impacts to the SSSI.

M38.15 County Wildlife Site CWS 1427 'Waveney Forest' is partially within the site; it presumably once formed a larger continuous stretch of heathland, but dry ericaceous heath is now limited principally to unwooded paths, along the course of a dismantled railway and under the route of overhead pylons. The CWS is excluded from the proposed extraction areas, but is adjacent to them. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 38, 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.

M38.16 CWS 1426 'Fritton Warren South' is adjacent to the site boundary; it comprises an area of low-lying grazing marsh with fen vegetation and carr (Scale Marshes) which grades to scrub and secondary woodland with some mixed and coniferous plantation on the sandier soils. The potential exists for impacts from mineral extraction at MIN 38, 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.

M38.17 There are no ancient woodland sites within 3km of the site.

M38.18 Geodiversity: The site consists of the Happisburgh Glacigenic formation, Corton Woods sand and gravel member, overlying Crag Group - sand and gravel. There is significant potential for vertebrate fossils within the Crag Group. Potential impacts to geodiversity would need to be assessed and appropriate mitigation identified as part of any future application. Preservation of a section of former cliff-line of Holocene age on the site would be desirable and a 'watching brief' during the extraction phase when features of potential geodiversity interest are uncovered would be vital.

M38.19 Flood Risk: The majority (96%) of the site is in Flood Zone 1 (lowest risk) for flooding from rivers. The western boundary of the site is within Flood Zone 2 (medium risk) and Flood Zone 3 (high risk) for flooding from rivers, however this part of the site is not within the proposed mineral extraction area. The site has a low risk of surface water flooding with three locations of surface water pooling in a 1 in 30-year rainfall event. There are additional areas of surface water pooling at a 1 in 100 and 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 western boundary of the site is just within the Waveney, Lower Yare and Lothingland Internal Drainage Board area. The rest of the site is not in an Internal Drainage Board area.

M38.20 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 information submitted by the site proposer states that no dewatering would take place and that once extraction reached the water table, working would be carried out 'wet'.

M38.21 Water Framework Directive (WFD): The site is within the catchment of Fritton Lake, a WFD waterbody, and is located approximately 400m from Fritton Lake. The groundwater level in this area is several metres below ground level and therefore overland flows are not expected from the site towards Fritton Lake. If mineral is extracted from site MIN 38 it is expected to be processed on site, therefore the mineral to be processed would not be transported across Fritton Lake. Due to the distance of the site from Fritton Lake it is not expected that there would be a pathway for silt ingress into Fritton Lake from any future mineral extraction within site MIN 38.

M38.22 Utilities infrastructure: There are no sewerage assets or water assets within the site. Electricity distribution pylons cross the site east/west but the proposed extraction areas are located either side of the route of the pylons. There are no high pressure gas pipelines within the site.

M38.23 Safeguarding aerodromes: The site is not within an aerodrome safeguarding zone.

M38.24 Restoration: The restoration scheme proposed by the mineral operator would be a mixture of commercial forestry, acid grassland, area of broadleaf woodland, and wetland habitats with wet grassland margins. The haul route would be removed as part of the proposal. Restoring the worked areas to a mix of wet (deciduous) woodland and heath land with some reed ponds which would be a more 'natural' and appropriate Broads landscape than the current block planting of coniferous plantations, would be preferred.

M38.25 Conclusion: The site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:

  • The harm to the significance of Waveney Forest as an example of a WW2 training area could not be appropriately mitigated, as the significance relates to the area as a whole.
  • The site is located within the Broads; there are more acceptable alternative sites for sand and gravel extraction proposed in the Plan in accordance with paragraph 205 (a) of the NPPF and there are not exceptional circumstances for mineral extraction at this site in accordance with paragraph 172 of the NPPF.
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