Meeting documents

Development Control Sub-Committee
Tuesday 9 July 1996

Date of meeting: 9 July 1996
Document type: Report
Committee: Development Control Sub-Committee
Title: Application No: DF.8540/B - Dayhouse Quarry, Tidenham


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Abstract (plain text version of the report)
FOREST OF DEAN DISTRICT COUNCIL AREA

APPLICATION NO: DF.8540/B DATED: 9TH JANUARY 1996

(Amended by letter dated 3.5.96 and plan no. TH/DQ/5-96/5 814)

T.S. THOMAS & SONS (LYDNEY) LIMITED
ALBION CHAMBERS
HILL STREET
LYDNEY
GLOS

MJ CARTER ASSOCIATES
STATION HOUSE
LONG STREET
ATHERSTONE
WAR WICKSHIRE
CV9 1BH

PROPOSAL: APPLICATION FOR PLANNING PERMISSION TO A REVISED RESTORATION AND LANDSCAPING SCHEME TO PROVIDE A STRATEGY FOR RESTORATION TO A RECREATION AFTERUSE, INCLUDING THE PROVISION OF AN INN/HOTEL, SITE CONTROL/OFFICE, VISITOR ACCOMMODATION, DIVING TRAINING FACILITIES, TOILETS/SHOWER FACILITIES, COMPRESSOR HOUSE, WATER BOTTLING PLANT AND THE PROVISION OF ASSOCIATED CAR PARKING.

LOCATION : DAYHOUSE QUARRY, TIDENHAM.

PARISH: PARISH OF TIDENHAM

THE SITE - see attached plan

1.1 Dayhouse Quarry is located overlooking the Severn plain, approximately 2.5 kilometres to the north east of Chepstow, approximately 1km east of Woodcroft and at the western edge of Tidenham. The Wye Valley lies further west about 1.25 kilometres away.

1.2 The application site occupies an area of approximately 1 8ha of which the quarry comprises approximately 9.5ha. The remainder of the site comprises overburden and soil storage in the north west, the quarry plant area in the south and landscaped areas of grassland and woodland in the north, east, west and south east. The southern tip of
the quarry lies at approximately 43 metres above Ordnance Datum (AOD) and the northern tip is at approximately 66 metre AOD. The quarry floor level following completion of limestone extraction will be approximately 50 metres Below Ordnance Datum (BOD). At the end of its working life the quarry void will be approximately 105 metres deep. The final width will be approximately 160 metres and the final length will be approximately 585 metres in general the quarry faces are very steep or near vertical.

1.3 North of Tidenham village, Netherhope Lane is adjacent to the northern boundary of the site and Bishton Lane is adjacent to the north western boundary of the application
site. To the north and east the site is bounded by the settlements of Cross Hill and Tidenham. To the south the site is bounded by the A48 beyond which is pasture. To the west the site is bounded by a disused mineral railway which joins the main Chepstow Gloucester railway approximately 0.5 kilometre to the south of the site. West of the railway is agricultural land.

1.4 The nearest building to the western boundary of the site is a dutch barn which lies within 65 metres. The barn is used for storage. Residential properties in the vicinity
of Bishton Farm and Rye Cottages are situated between 550 metres and 300 metres from the western boundary of the site. Woodcroft village is situated on a hill to the
west of the quarry.

1.5 There are a number of properties on Netherhope Lane to the north west of the site. The lane rises gradually towards the western end. The closest property to the north
west of the site is Fern Cottage at the eastern end of the lane approximately 50 metres from the site boundary and 180 metres from the completed quarry edge. The closest residential property to the site is The Park House which lies approximately 20 metres from the northern boundary of the site and approximately 100 metres from the quarry. The remaining properties in Cross Hill are situated between 120 metres and 300 metres from the northern edge of the quarry.

1.6 Tidenham village is adjacent to the eastern boundary of the site between the A48 to the south and Netherhope Lane to the north. The church and Church Cottage in the
village of Tidenham lie approximately 60 metres and 70 metres respectively from the eastern boundary. The remaining residential properties including Dayhouse and Vicarage Cottage lie generally between 40 metres and 300 metres from the site boundary and at least 150 metres from the quarry edge. A number of derelict properties are present at the western edge of Tidenham including Tidenham House which are generally between 20 metres and 100 metres from the quarry edge.

1.7 The site is accessed directly from the A48 Chepstow to Gloucester Trunk Road. The A48 joins with the M4 south of Chepstow approximately 5.25 kilometres from the site entrance providing access to and from southern England and South Wales. The M4 joins the MS just north of Bristol connecting the site with the south west of England and the motorway network of the Midlands and the north.

1.8 A public footpath crosses the south eastern corner of the application site and continues northwards along the eastern edge of the woodland immediately east of the quarry
before turning westwards along the northern and north western boundary of the to join the road network. The footpath were diverted around the perimeter of quarry in 1978.

2. HISTORY OF THE SITE

(i) IDO. 160. Developing quarrying operations and screening and mixing. Date of consent - 15.9.45 (registered 17.8.92).
(ii) IDO.309. Continuance of Use and Extension. DoC 22.7.47 17.8.92).
(iii) F.4464. Use of land for Access purposes incidental to Quarry use. Siting ready mixed plant and resiting of plant within existing quarry area. D of 17.4.63.
(iv) F.4464/a. Use of land for Quarrying of Limestone (Extension of E Quarry as indicated in pink colour on Drawing no. FP.197) D of C - 9.7.65.
(v) F.4464/b. As a above. D of C 21.10.65. (vi) F.4464/c. Demolition of three existing buildings. Erection of a maintainance and repairshop. DofC- 14.7.67.
(vii) F.4464/d. Replacement of Concrete batching plant and ancillary buildings of C - 15.10.73.
(viii) DF.8540/A. Landfill of Dayhouse Quarry. Refused 1990.

3. THE PROPOSAL

3.1 In summary, the applicants agents state that the form and depth of the quarry together with the high water table restrict the range of possible restoration options for the site. Following a detailed quarry appraisal the submitted proposal has been developed f the restoration of the quarry for the future recreation and leisure after use, in particularly for diving. The quarry restoration has been designed to accommodate the future recreational use whilst enhancing the wildlife interest of the site.

3.2 The main components of the proposed recreational afteruse are as follows:

(i) Use of quarry (water) as a Diving centre (Tidenham Cove),
(ii) Reprofiling the form of the quarry to facilitate the proposed afteruse,
(iii) Provision of single storey visitor accommodation,
(iv) Provision of site control and office including reception, dive shop,
(v) Provision of a Inn/Hotel providing refreshment, restaurant and accommodation facilities,
(vi) Provision of a Diving Training Centre including indoor pool and associated equipment,
(vii) Provision of toilets, changing rooms, showers, compressor house and snack bar,
(viii) Provision of a number of permanent hard surfaced car parks and overspill car parks,
(ix) Provision of deep water technical diving area - shelter structure, floating jetty for boat and diving,
(x) Provision of waters edge ramps and shelters for basic training and sports diving,
(xi) Provision of water bottling source - water to be taken off site for bottling,
(xii) Provision of rock climbing area (access by public footpath from main site access,
(xiii) All existing quarry plant and equipment to be demolished and removed from site,
(xiv) Additional landscaping within and on the boundaries of the site to provide full visual screening and visual constrainment of all buildings, structures and activities at the Tidenham Cove Diving Centre, achieved by retention of existing soil and rock banks reinforced by new screen bunds and native woodland planting,
(xv) Improved vehicular access direct to the A48 trunk road.

3.3 The applicants agents have submitted a comprehensive appraisal of the site and proposals, including a landscape and ecological assessment, geological, hydrogeological and hydrological assessment, restoration programme, visual impact assessment, traffic and access assessment, noise assessment and need.

3.4 I have summarised the submitted assessments as follows:-

Need

3.5 In approximately 2 years time extraction of limestone at Dayhouse Quarry will be complete. The principal need for the proposed development arises from the need to
restore the quarry. In the current planning consents there are no conditions relating to the restoration or aftercare of the quarry. “Minerals Policy Guidance Note (MPG) 7”, highlights the importance of reclamation of minerals workings and states that “it is very important that land worked for minerals should not become derelict or remain out of beneficial use for longer than is absolutely necessary.” The proposed development will return the site to beneficial use by optimising the restoration opportunities presented by the worked out quarry.

3.6 The need for leisure and recreational facilities is highlighted by “Planning Policy Guidance. Note (PPG) 17,” which notes that “sport and recreation are important components of civilised life” and “ii is the policy of the Government to promote the development of sport and recreation in its widest sense.” It is noted in PPG 17 that “approximately 23 million people participate regularly in formal indoor and outdoor sport and that over 80% of the population visit the countryside for recreational or sporting purposes at least once a year.” Paragraph 12.5.17 of the Gloucestershire Structure Plan First Alteration states that “demand for water based sports has risen rapidly in the last decade.” The Structure Plan highlights the need to achieve a balance between recreation, traditional countryside uses and the conservation of the rural environment and- acknowledges the need for provision of recreational facilities as well as effective management of existing facilities in achieving this balance. The Forest of Dean District Local Plan emphasises the growth in demand for recreational facilities and lists amongst its objectives in terms of recreation support of the provision of new sports and leisure facilities.”

3.7 The sport of scuba diving is growing rapidly. It is estimated that currently there 250,000 sports divers in the UK and only a limited number of diving facilities. diving often is difficult because of weather and tidal restrictions. An assessment existing provision for sports diving undertaken by Bill Lewis of Bristol School Limited identified three major centres at Stoney Cove in Leicestershire, Gildenburgh Water in Cambridgeshire and Dorothea in Gwynedd. Since the research was undertaken the facility in Dorothea has been closed to divers. Gildenburgh Water provides only a small water area and maximum water depth of 22m. Cove provides a good water area with a maximum depth of 34m but is subject shared usage of the water so that diving can take place only during restricted houi Neither site provides accommodation and both provide only basic facilities. It is estimated currently that approximately 50,000 divers visit Stoney Cove a year, proving that there is a demand for diving facilities. Based on the research undertaken it is concluded that there is a need for a diving facility with a good water area diversity of depths together with high quality accommodation, catering, changing training facilities.

3.8 Interest in climbing has expanded significantly in recent years. A copy of a supporting letter received from the British Mountaineering Council was included as an Appendix to the application.

3.9 The proposed development will facilitate restoration of the quarry to a beneficial afteruse by providing a high quality recreational facility for which there is an acknowledged and proven demand.

Restoration Programme

3.10 The shape and form of the worked out quarry restricts the options for restoration.

The quarry is deep with in many places near vertical rock faces. When active pumping ceases the quarry will fill with water. A number of alternatives have been considered for the restoration and afteruse of Dayhouse Quarry. Accordingly proposals to restore the quarry to a form that facilitates recreational and leisure use and to provide appropriate buildings and infrastructure to support this use have been developed. The range of depths of water in a protected location is ideal for Diving. It is proposed that diving will be the primary activity but use of the site for other recreational activities such as climbing, canoeing, walking and picnicking will be encouraged. The potential for the abstraction of spring water is being investigated and will be the subject of a separate application for planning permission.

3. 11 The final form of the quarry and all restoration works have been designed for the purpose of achieving two objectives as follows:

• To remove evidence of active quarrying and to integrate the quarry with the local landscape, and,
• To provide a landform favourable to the development of a leisure facility with a strong emphasis on Diving activities.

3.12 The proposed development of a leisure facility will necessitate the construction of a number of buildings and structures including a Diving training centre, changing
facilities, waterside shelters, accommodation facilities and an Inn or Hotel together with the provision of appropriate infrastructure including car parking and surfaced access tracks. The quarry will be reprofiled and landscape works will be undertaken progressively.

3.13 At the end of the working life of the quarry all existing quarry plant and equipment will be dismantled and removed. Areas occupied currently by plant and equipment
will be tidied after removal of the plant. When dewatering of the quarry ceases it is anticipated that the water will rise to a level between 20m AOD and 30m AOD. The final water level in the quarry will be stabilised by drilling an overflow at a level of 20m AOD which will discharge into the watercourse that is used currently for the discharge of water from the quarry workings.

3.14 The working of the quarry has created dramatic and interesting rock formations and exposures many of which will be retained as attractive features contributing to the
overall character and setting of the proposed development. Along the western side of the main access track is a rock face of approximately 3m to 4m height topped by dense woodland and scrub vegetation which will be retained in its entirety both as a visual screen to views from Woodcroft and as a prominent landscape feature giving definition to the boundaries of the site. In the southern area of the site occupied currently by the quarry plant is partially vegetated rock outcrop approximately 3m to 4m high which will be retained as a feature within the restored landscape of the southern reception area. In many places the faces of the quarry are near vertical having a form similar to existing waterside cliffs in the area such as those found to the west of the site at Wintours Leap by the River Wye. These cliffs are used extensively by climbers. The British Mountaineering Council have visited the site and indicated that parts of the quarry wall will be of interest to climbers.

3.15 As part of the final workings of the quarry and for reasons of stability the north western rock face in the quarry will be cut back at a gradient of approximately 1:2. Loose materials on the surface of this slope will be retained and added wherever possible in a manner that will encourage natural regeneration to scrub and calcareous grassland. The current materials storage area in the north western corner of the site will be regraded to a profile close to original ground level. The reprofiling of the north western area of the site will result in the generation of approximately 189,400 cubic metres of overburden material. It is estimated that approximately 24,300 cubic metres of unsaleable mineral will be generated by the remaining working of the quarry. This material together with that generated by the reprofiling of the north western area of the site will be used in profiling the quarry base.

3.16 Using the material available it is proposed that a series of benches are constructed at the northern end of the quarry to provide a range of depths for Diving activities. The upper bench will be constructed at a 1 in 5 gradient at levels ranging between 25m AOD and 15m AOD and the lower bench will be constructed at a level of 10m AOD. A ramp will be constructed along the northern edge of the quarry to provide access to the benches. The remainder of the inert quarry overburden and returned material will be used to fill the northern part of the deep southern void to create a bench at a le of 30m BOD and to create a second bench in the southern part of the quarry at a of 30m BOD. It is estimated that approximately 184,400 cubic metres of material will be used in the construction of the northern benches and approximately 31,700 cubic metres of material will be used in the construction of the southern bench.

3.17 The reprofiled base of the quarry is designed to provide a range of depths suited to various diving activities. In the north of the quarry a 1 in 5 sloping beach with water depths from Om to Sm and a 10m deep bench will provide access to the water aJ safe depths for basic diving training. The area immediately south of the benches will provide a water depth of 20m for general sports diving. In the south of the quarry water depth of 50m will be available for advanced divers and technical or special ist divers from the armed forces or commercial diving companies.

3. 18 There are significant amounts of well established plantation woodland and scrub vegetation within the application site which will be retained and protected both in the restoration and in the proposed development. The woodland plantations around the northern half of’ the quarry and mixed woodland and scrub along the western boundary together with new woodland planting in other locations will provide boundary definition, visual containment and a robust landscape framework to contain visually and screen the proposed activities and associated development. There is much natural revegetation notably on bunds and on vertical and fragmented rock faces which will be retained, protected and encouraged in the restoration and proposed development. The presence of a range of vegetation types from self-sown grassland herbs and scrub communities to broad-leaved and mixed woodland renders the site potentially suitable for development of a range of natural flora and fauna. Where appropriate ecological measures to encourage habitat creation and enhancement will be implemented within the restoration and subsequent proposed development. Where appropriate native species will be used in a balance close to the anticipated natural situation which will be based on the natural vegetation classification and on Forestry Commission Bulletin No 112 entitled “Creating New Native Woodlands “. An outline schedule of planting strategies at different locations around the site was included in the submitted Appendices. Plant communities will be typical of limestone areas in the locality.

3.19 It is proposed that a detailed scheme of planting and landscaping will be submitted to the County Council for approval later in consultation with as appropriate the Countryside Commission, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Forest of Dean District Council and Gloucestershire County Council. The scheme will identify areas for planting and areas for natural regeneration and will include details of soil handling and placement, species mixes for each habitat, methods of sowing, planting and establishment together with management and aftercare of the site.

3.20 To restore the site in accordance with the submitted scheme shown it will be necessary to place approximately 2,000 cubic metres of restoration soils in the areas of proposed planting in the south eastern, south western and north western areas of the site. Based on observations on site, information provided by the applicants and the assumption that a maximum depth of approximately 0.20 metre of soils were stripped from approximately 7.2 ha of land in the north western area of the site in accordance with earlier permissions it is estimated that approximately 14,000 cubic metres of soils are stored along the northern and western boundaries of the site. Approximately 4,000 cubic metres of soils are stored in a 2m high bund situated adjacent to the northern and western boundaries of the site. The remainder of the soils have not been identified but it is anticipated that they are located beneath the materials stored in the mineral storage area. Although the 2 metre high bund will be retained along the northern and western boundaries of the site it is anticipated that the remaining 10,000 cubic metres of restoration soils will be available at the site for use in the proposed scheme. In the event that insufficient soils are available at the site additional restoration soils may have to be imported.

3.21 Existing footpaths passing around and through the site will remain open. Restoration works within the site will improve the immediate landscape context of the footpaths
and will improve views of the site from the footpaths. Safety fencing and warning signs will be erected in appropriate agreed locations. Safety measures will be a feature of the restoration and development generally. Access to the edge of the quarry faces will be restricted by the use of dense thorny undergrowth, fencing and
barriers as appropriate to each particular location.

3.22 It is proposed that the facilities for recreational use of the site will be located in 3 principal areas as follows:

(1) Waters edge facilities will be provided in the north of the quarry. Proposed that in the ‘beach’ areas, shelters for pre and post diving briefings and preparation for diving together with toilets and showers be provided. Waterside parking will be provided for cars. A mooring for a small boat will be constructed from the ‘beach’. To facilitate rapid access to deep water areas for technical diving or testing submersible craft, a floating jetty will be constructed on the western side of the quarry at the end of the lower access road.

(2) Main diving centre will be located in the west of the site. Proposed facilities include a snack bar, a shop for diving equipment, a compressor house for filling gas cylinders, toilets, showers and changing facilities. Proposed that the Dive School will be based in this area with an indoor training pool. Car parks will be created in this area. The main car park adjacent to the centre will accommodate 80 cars.

Remaining car parks will accommodate 250 cars although it is anticipated that the overspill car park will only be required for special events. Activity at the northern end of the site will be minimal after dark and during the night restricted to specialist diving activities and the use of indoor training facilities. In these circumstances only the car parks at the Waterside and adjacent to the Dive Centre will be used.

(3) The site reception area, an accommodation building and an Inn or Hotel facility will be located in the southern area of the site.

The location of these facilities will ensure that the majority of night time activity is at the point in the site furthest from the village of Tidenham. The reception will control access to the site and recreational facilities. Accommodation will be designed to provide a range of facilities suitable for the clientele of the site from bunkhouse to family rooms. The Inn or Hotel could include a restaurant, bar, lecture rooms and further accommodation. Adequate parking will be provided for the reception area.

3.23 The final worked out form of the quarry will leave a system of internal tracks and roadways connecting the main recreational areas of the site. The layout of of internal network of vehicular tracks will ensure that all vehicle movements are key within the site boundary at locations which can be screened visually and acoustically from nearby properties. The main access to the diving centre will be along the western side of the site.

3.24 Car parking areas will be bunded and vegetated to provide noise and visual screening.

The landscaping in the north of the site has been designed to provide an external impression of a generally wooded area.

3.25 The reception area will be accessed directly from the existing access. The existing road access is directly off the A48 (T) trunk road and will be retained in the restoration and proposed development.

3.26 The proposed buildings and structures at the site will be designed to satisfy at least the minimum functional requirements of the proposed leisure development. The only proposed building visible from outside the site will be the Inn or Hotel at the southern end of the site, which will be visible to passing traffic on the A48. The architectural style and scale and the construction materials used will reflect those of local dwellings and their associated buildings and structures. The proposed. accommodation block and site control office will be of architectural style similar to the Inn. The buildings and structures further into the site that will serve diving activities will be designed carefully in sympathy with their wooded setting as will the structure housing the water abstraction plant. The existing mass concrete retaining wall by the site entrance will be retained in order to protect highway site lines and will be clad in local stone in a manner that will be both suited to the locality and that will co-ordinate with the proposed Inn.

3.27 It is proposed that the recreational facilities at the site will be developed in a phased manner as the use of the site increases and to meet the demands of the clientele. At an early stage it is proposed that the reception building and dive centre are constructed. The details of the building including layout, construction and style will as necessary be submitted for the approval of the Forest of Dean District Council.

Landscape and Ecology

3.28 Dayhouse Quarry is situated to the south of the Forest of Dean in moderately undulating countryside on the edge of the flood plain of the River Severn which lies to the east of the site. The land rises in a generally north westerly direction.

3.29 To the west of the site the ground rises from approximately 50m AOD at the quarry edge to 95m over limestone cliffs to the River Wye. The ground rises to the north of
the site from approximately 60m AOD at the quarry edge to 85m AOD at Cross Hill. The village of Boughspring 1.5km to the north of the site is at 120m AOD. The
village of Tidenham to the east of the site is generally level with the site.

3.30 To the south of the site the ground falls to the edge of the flood plain of the River Severn. The flood plain slopes gently to the northern bank of the River Severn.

3.31 The area is essentially rural comprising small villages and agricultural land dissected by hedgerows with scattered woodlands. The mineral railway constitutes a linear
feature’in the local landscape. Scattered dwellings and small communities are set in a well wooded mature agricultural landscape dissected by hedgerows. The area is one of varied topography characterised by the rolling pastureland between the shallow slopes of the Severn estuary to the east and the steep near vertical rock cliffs of the River Wye to the west. The nearby village gardens have been planted with alien tree species such as Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) and redwoods (Sequoia sp.)
which form prominent features in the landscape. There is no commercial forestry in the immediate vicinity of the site.

3.32 The Agricultural Land Classification for the area, taken from the Agricultural Land

Classification 1:250,000 map of south west England, is generally grade 2 to grade 3. The land is used generally for rough grazing on shallow slopes and steeper slopes generally are wooded. Improved pasture and a narrow range of arable crops can be grown where there is adequate soil depth, reduced stoniness and suitable gradients. In
the vicinity of Dayhouse Quarry the majority of fields are pasture.

3.33 Phase I Habitat survey and search for protected species was undertaken at the site and on land in the ownership of TS Thomas and Sons (Lydney) Limited. The principal
habitat type identified were broad-leaved woodland, broad-leaved and conifer plantation and shelter belts, improved, semi-improved and rough grassland, small areas of species rich grassland, hedgerows and gardens. A variety of common birds was recorded during the survey together with bats and signs of use of the site by badgers. The results of the survey were presented in detail in an Appendix appended to the submitted application.

3.34 Much of the quarry including the extraction and storage areas together with access roads is bare of vegetation. Older extracted areas and less steep slopes have some scrub vegetation. Both the bare faces and partiy vegetated stockpiles provide feeding and basking habitats for reptiles. The scrub areas support breeding linnet, blackbird and whitethroats. Kestrels and stock-doves were observed using the rock faces.

3.35 It is understood that there are no designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the immediate locality of the site nor have any key sites of conservation importance been identified by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. It is understood that there are no tree preservation orders in the vicinity of the site.

Hydrogeology and Hydrology

3.36 Eight groundwater monitoring boreholes have been drilled at the site as part of an investigation for the earlier proposed landfill development. Detailed geological information for boreholes 1 to 7 is not available. It is understood that boreholes 1 to 4 monitor the Lower Dolomite. Boreholes 5, 6 and 7 monitor the Lower Dolomite Borehole 8 intercepts the Mercia Mudstone and the Brownstones.

3.37 Water levels were measured regularly in all the boreholes between December 1987 and September 1988. The results of the monitoring show wide and rapid fluctuations. in water level in response to rainfall consistent with strata in which groundwater flow. is predominantly through fissures. In boreholes 1 to 4 the water level fluctuated between 11m and 30m between February 1985 and September 1988. The water level in borehole 1 varied between a maximum of approximately 42m AOD to a minimum of 12m AOD and 4m AOD. In borehole 7 the water level varied between approximately 24m AOD and 18m AOD.

3.38 The quarry is dewatered currently to maintain a dry operational area. Water is discharged from the quarry to a ditch to the east of the A48(T). The ditch flows easterly to the River Severn. The floor of the quarry is at a level of approximately 50m BOD. The direction of groundwater flow is controlled by dewatering and groundwater flows into the quarry from all directions. Due to the presence of the low permeability Lower Limestone Shales to the east of the quarry it is unlikely that there is significant groundwater ingress to the quarry from this direction.

3.39 The River Severn lies approximately 1.25km to the south east of the site and the River Wye lies 1.5km to the west. Although the Lower Carboniferous Limestone strata are overlain by the low permeability Mercia Mudstone to the south and east, the Carboniferous rocks crop out beneath the Severn Estuary and it is likely that the groundwater in the Carboniferous strata is in direct continuity with the River Severn to the south of the quarry.

3.40 The River Wye to the west of the site flows across the western limb of the syncline. It is likely that the groundwater in the Lower Dolomite is in hydraulic continuity with the River Wye.

3.41 As a result of the influence of the River Severn and the River Wye it is anticipated that the natural hydraulic gradient in the Carboniferous units beneath the quarry is towards the south.

3.42 The Carboniferous Limestone is designated a major aquifer in the National Rivers Authority “Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater”. The Mercia Mudstone is designated a non-aquifer and the Old Red Sandstone is designated a minor aquifer.

3.43 There are five licensed groundwater abstractions to the north east of the site. The closest licensed abstractions are situated at NOR ST 556 958 and ST 556 960
approximately 600m to the north east of the site. The remaining three abstractions are between 2km and 2.5km to the north east of the site. As it is likely that the natural hydraulic gradient beneath the site is in a southerly direction towards the outcrop of Carboniferous Limestone in the Severn Estuary the abstractions will be up
hydraulic gradient of the site.

3.44 A spring at approximately 24.0m AOD is shown on old Ordnance Survey maps of the site in Coombesbury Wood. The spring is approximately 20m from the eastern edge of the quarry. It is likely that the spring is associated with a north west to south east fault which crosses the quarry and is at the junction between the Lower Dolomite and the Lower Limestone Shale. The spring usually is dry although it is understood that during the winter months water issues occasionally from the spring. It is considered that the spring is in hydraulic continuity with groundwater in the Carboniferous Limestone and has dried up as a result of the pumping from the quarry. Following the completion of mineral extraction and the cessation of pumping the groundwater will recover to the natural level. Although there is no water level information for the period before the commencement of dewatering at the quarry it is considered that the water level will rise to a level above 24m AOD reactivating the spring in Coombesbury Wood which will provide a discharge point for groundwater in the limestone.

3.45 The site is located in an area of high rainfall. The average annual rainfall according to the Meteorological Office is 970mm.

3.46 The quarry lies in the catchments of a number of small streams which flow in an easterly direction to the River Severn. As a result of quarrying activities currently
there is little runoff from the site to the watercourses. Apart from the intermittent spring discharge located in Coombesbury Wood all of the streams rise and flow on the low permeability Mercia Mudstone.

Visual Intrusion

3.47 The degree of visual impact on the local environment from a proposed development is dependent on the following factors:-

(a) the nature of the development,
(b) the topography of the area,
(c) the distance between the proposed development and sensitive locations, and
(d) the position of buildings, structures and vegetation which may screen the proposed development.

3.48 For the purpose of assessing visual intrusion the environmental impact of a development is graded at three levels. Where the development is clearly visible and the character of the landscape is changed materially the proposal is defined as having significant impact. Where the development is clearly visible and the character of the landscape remains unchanged the impact is defined as moderate. Where parts of the development are visible but are not immediately apparent the impact is define slight.

3.49 The quarry is situated in generally south east facing sloping ground between the River Wye and the River Severn. The surrounding landform rises gently to the north and the west for approximately 1km in each direction. To the south and to the east t ground level is lower than the level of the quarry. There are well established den mixed broadleaved and coniferous tree plantations approximately thirty years c along the northern and north western site boundaries. The trees are between 10m 12m high. Continuous with the plantations is dense well established mixed mature woodland lying in the north eastern part of the site. There is well established screen planting of Leyland Cypress and other tree and shrub species around the south easte corner of the site. Along the western site boundary an elevated rock bank topped with well established tree and scrub vegetation has been retained. Along the south e site boundary the elevated railway embankment has dense well established vegetation of trees and scrub.

3.50 The cumulative effect of the local topography and the existing well established woodland plantations, screen belts and scrub vegetation is that the site including the worked out quarry is screened substantially from the majority of local viewpoints.

3.51 The village of Tidenham lies adjacent to the eastern boundaries of the site. All properties in the village of Tidenham are screened fully from views of the site by a combination of landform and dense well established woodland plantations.

3.52 The community of Cross Hill extends northwards from the village of Tidenham. The land and gardens around Cross Hill have substantial mature vegetation including tree belts and woodland. Cross Hill is at a level approximately 50 metres higher than the site. A few properties have distant views from upstairs windows of the southern part of the site at a distance of approximately 800 metres seen above intervening woodland plantations around the boundary of the site. Due to the combined mitigating effects of distance and intervening vegetation the level of visual intrusion to properties in Cross Hill which have views of the restored quarry will be slight. The proposed. restoration and development will include additional screen bunds and planting adjacent to car parking areas and around the accommodation building. The establishment of this additional vegetation, the further growth of existing woodland plantations together with the careful siting of new buildings and structures in areas benefiting prom existing screening will result in an increasing level of visual mitigation and landscape integration.

3.53 The community of Woodcroft is situated approximately 600 metres to the west of and at a level approximately 50 metres higher than the application site. There are views from properties on the eastern side of Woodcroft towards the site across intervening fields and hedgerows. The upper parts of the quarry plant are visible currently above the adjacent trees. When the quarry plant is removed no structures in the southern half of the application site will be visible from Woodcroft. Stockpiled materials in
the northern part of the application site currently are partially visible above the top of intervening established woodland plantations along the application site boundary. On restoration the stockpiles will be removed or used in the construction of additional screen bunds which will be landscaped and planted with woodland type vegetation including appropriate tree and shrub species. The only part of the worked out quarry remaining visible after restoration will be the lip of the north eastern quarry face. The quarry face already is subject to a degree of natural colonisation by scrub species which in combination with the continuing growth of intervening trees and scrub and the distance from Woodcroft will result in only a slight level of visual intrusion.

3.54 The proposed landscape planting in the north west of the site will reinforce existing screening along the mineral railway for long range views from Woodcroft. All new
buildings and structures will be located in areas screened from views from Woodcroft which in combination with the establishment of new planting and further growth of established planting will result in an increasing level of visual mitigation and landscape integration and further reduction in visual intrusion.

3.55 The southern area of the application site lies adjacent to and is accessed from the A48(T). The fixed and mobile quarry plant and the low concrete retaining wall at the
site access are locally prominent features in views from the road in the vicinity of the site access. These views are possible from only a short length of road due to the established tree and scrub vegetation on the nearby railway embankment and the established dense evergreen conifer screen planting around the south east corner of the application site. All existing quarry plant will be removed from the site with the result that visual intrusion to views from the road in the immediate vicinity of the site
will be reduced from significant to slight.

3.56 The proposed development will include an inn or hotel partially visible from the site entrance. Due to the proposed scale, form and architectural style of the building the improvement in appearance of the existing low wall by cladding with local stone and extensive landscape works both around the buildings and around the site frontage it is considered that the proposed development as a whole will integrate well with its setting.

3.57 A number of public footpaths cross the application site. Views of much of the quarry are possible from various locations along the public footpaths. The proposed restoration will improve significantly views of the site from the footpaths. It is considered that the restored quarry with its carefully designed final form, the lake and new and existing vegetation will become an attractive feature in the local landscape as seen in views from the public footpaths. The proposed development will include additional internal landscaped screen bunds and planting in carefully chosen locations including for example around and between car parking areas and in the setting of new buildings and structures. All new buildings and structures will be below the existing tree line, will be designed carefully and located in order to integrate with the character and scale of their setting. It is considered that the residual impact of the proposed development on views from the footpaths within the application site will not be significant and that the activities at the site will present a feature of interest for users of the paths.

Traffic and Access

3.58 The site is accessed directly from the A48(T) which runs in a south west to north east direction adjacent to the southern boundary of the site. The access is metalled, will be mouthed and sufficiently wide to facilitate easy passage of two way traffic.

3.59 Based on information provided by TS Thomas and Sons (Lydney) Limited it estimated that currently up to 400 heavy goods vehicles visit the site each working day (0630 hours to 1700 hours) equating to between 700 and 800 vehicle movements per day. Based on 24 hour traffic count data provided by Gloucestershire County Council from a monitoring location at Whitecross, Lydney (NGR627 027) for the period 12th June to 18th June 1995 it is calculated that the average number of vehicle movements on the A48(T) between 0600 hours and 1600 hours is 6216. Traffic generated currently at Dayhouse Quarry constitutes approximately 13% of traffic flow on the A48(T) during that time period.

3.60 It is likely that the proposed Diving centre will be open seven days a week throughout the year. It is anticipated that divers will travel substantial distances to visit the site. The proposed Inn will be open at lunch time and in the evenings. It is estimated that between 250 and 300 vehicles will enter the site at various times through the day.

3.61 The anticipated volume of traffic generated by the proposed afteruse will be less than existing volumes and will constitute only a small proportion of the volume of traffic on the A48(T). Based on the volume and uneven distribution through the day of vehicle movements it is considered unlikely that the proposed development will have a significant impact on traffic flow in the vicinity of the site.

3.62 As all vehicles will enter and leave the site from the A48(T) there will be no increase in vehicle numbers passing through the village of Tidenham as a result of the proposed development. All vehicles within the site will follow designated routes and vehicle speeds within the site will be controlled to minimise the risk of significant nuisance through generation of dust or noise.

Noise

3.63 The potential for noise impact from the proposed development on the nearby residential areas has been considered in selecting the proposed afteruse and has been taken into account in the design of the proposals. Consideration has been given to any potential sources of noise associated with the proposed development.

3.64 At present there are a number of existing noise sources typical of those found in an active hard rock quarry including blasting, vehicle movements, loading of rock and stone processing. All of the existing sources of noise associated with the quarrying activities will be removed when the quarry is restored.

3.65 It is concluded that overall the noise levels created by the proposed development will be substantially less than those of the current quarry and will not result in a nuisance to residents of nearby properties.

3.66 The agents add that pre-application consultations have been carried out with the County Council, the Forest of Dean District Council, Tidenham Parish Council, the
National Rivers Authority, English Nature, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Health and Safety Executive, the Mines and Quarries Inspectorate, the Sports Council, British Sub-Aqua Club and British Mountaineering Council. A public exhibition of the proposals was held for local residents and all matters raised at the exhibition have
been considered and addressed in the design of the restoration and afteruse proposals.

4. POLICIES

National Guidance

4.1 Primary planning legislation is complemented and clarified by a number of Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs), Orders and Circulars. The following are of relevance
in this case.

Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs)

4.2 PPG 1 (1992) sets out general guidance regarding the processing of all applications for planning permission and includes the statement that the planning system should
be: ‘operated on the basis that applications for development be allowed having regard to the development plan and all material considerations unless the proposal would cause demonstrable harm to interests of acknowledged importance.”

4.3 The main considerations that guide the determination of applications for planning permission are set out in “development plans” which are prepared taking into account
national policy guidance. Section 2b of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 states that applications for planning permission should be determined in accordance
with the development plan, “unless material considerations indicate otherwise.” Paragraph 26 of PPG 1 states that “in effect this introduces a presumption in favour of development proposals which are in accordance with the development plan.”

4.4 Mineral Planning Guidance note 7 (MPG) is concerned with the reclamation of mineral workings. Paragraph 3 states that: " within the framework of national policies, there is a wide range of possible options for suitable after uses for mineral workings.”

This range includes a variety of sports, nature conservation and other amenity uses.

4.5 Draft revised MPG 7 refers to guidance provided in a report commissioned by DOE entitled “The Amenity Reclamation of Mineral Workings (1992) in which it stated that: “amenity reclamation can bring substantial social and conservation benefits opening up new land for sporting activities, for informal recreation and for nature
geological conservation and often greatly increasing the opportunities for public access it provides great opportunities for the imaginative and innovative use of land”

“Importantly amenity reclamation may sometimes be the only option for certain types of mineral workings, such as deep hard rock quarries and certain types of wet
which realistically could never be returned to productive agriculture or forestry.”

4.6 Relevant development plan policies are contained within the Gloucestershire Structure Plan First Alteration (March 1992) and the Forest of Dean District Local Plan (Deposit Draft 1993).

Gloucestershire Structure Plan First Alteration

4.7 General Policy M7 requires restoration provisions in proposals for mineral working and processing. The policy recognises the value of securing a satisfactory and beneficial after-use, whether this be to secure agricultural restoration or to secure recreational, conservation or educational opportunities. Paragraph 13.3.1 of the Structure Plan states that “worked out land must be reclaimed satisfactorily to a beneficial after-use. This may be restoration to agriculture, but where this is impractical or inappropriate other afteruses will need to be fully considered” [CPO Note: It is considered impractical at this time to restore the quarry to agriculture and that the proposed afteruse will maximise the benefits of the reclamation of the land.]

4.8 Countryside policies of the Structure Plan are divided into agriculture, nature conservation, landscape and countryside management. The following policies are relevant in the consideration and determination of this application.

4.9 General Policy NC. lA states that “The County Council in association with the District Councils, will protect and promote nature conservation interests throughout the county.”

4.10 General Policy L 1 and L2 states that, “The Local Planning authorities will protect and promote the protection of the landscape in rural areas of the county,” and acknowledges the need for development in rural areas but recognises the likelihood that development in the open countryside may be more visually intrusive.

4.11 In terms of Recreation and Tourism General Policy CR1 . states that “The County Council will provide and encourage the provision of facilities which improve public access to the countryside but will protect areas from excessive use.” The policy cites a number of priorities including, “developing suitable under used or derelict land in the countryside for recreation.”

4.12 General Policy CR7 addresses water based recreation and states that, “The use of water for sport, recreation and tourism will be encouraged except where:

a) There would be an unacceptable conflict with water supply or commercial use;
b) there would be an unacceptable level of environmental impact particularly on the local ecology or to local settlement;
c) problems of recreational over-use or conflict could not be resolved;
d) there would be 6 verriding problems ofpublic safety;
e) there would be significant traffic problems “.

4.13 It is the policy of the County Council that tourist facilities including the provision of accommodation should be encouraged.

4.14 General Policy TO 1 states that, “The County Council will encourage the development of the tourist industry and the provision of appropriate facilities.
Special attention will be given to:

a) conserving the urban and rural environments;
b) providing facilities of appropriate standards and design, and
c) reducing tourist pressures in popular areas or at sites of special attraction.”

[CPO Note The restoration of Dayhouse quarry to a water based facility may relieve pressure on other areas subject to intense public use for example in parts of the Forest
ofDean]

Forest of Dean District Local Plan (Deposit Draft)

4.15 The local plan includes a number of relevant policies of the proposed development.

They are as follows.

4.16 Policy FBE2 states that:

“Proposals for new development will be required to:

a) retain any special features of the development site which appear to be worthy of conservation,
b) be of a design and layout compatible with their surroundings in terms of bulk and mass, character, scale, architectural detail, materials and landscaping,
c) safeguard the amenities of adjoining properties and the locality in general,
d) pr’ovide adequate access, parking, manoeuvring and amenity space,
e) ensure that prominent boundary walls and fences complement the existing character of the area.

Proposals should respect the design principles contained in the supplementary guidance published by the District Council.”

4.17 Policy FCLI is concerned with development in the countryside and states that:

“Proposals for development in the open countryside will be permitted only wher( shown that a rural location is essentiaL In all cases proposals:

a) should not result in the unacceptable loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land, or woodland
b) should not create amenity problems for adjoining or nearby land users.
c) should not be visually intrusive or detract from the character and amenity of the landscape.
d) should not result in structures of a scale, form, design or appearance would be visually intrusive or detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.
e) should not result in an unacceptable impact on the ecology of the area, amenities or features of archaeological or historic importance.
f) should not create unacceptable levels of traffic generation or highway safety problems.
g) should make proper provision for vehicular access and parking.
h) should make provision for a high standard of landscaping and screening assimilate the development into its surroundings.
i) should ensure that adequate services exist or, are reasonably accessible, can be readily and economically provided”

4. 18 Policy FCL5 addresses the effect of new development in landscape terms as follows:

“In considering proposals for new development, important natural landscape featur such as ponds, hedgerows and trees will normally be required to be retained ci enhanced, where appropriate the submission of a landscaping scheme with a plannir application will be required to show how this will be achieved”

4.19 In terms of Tourism and Recreation Policy FRi is of relevance and states that, “The District Council will encourage the development of recreation and leisure facilities where proposals do not lead to unacceptable additions to pressures upon the countryside and landscape, or otherwise detract from the quality of the environment. In all cases proposals must comply with the detailed requirements of Policy FCL 1.”

5. CONSULTATIONS

5.1 National Rivers Authority - Severn Trent have no objection in principle but requested further information regarding the borehole/overflow arrangements and the relationship between the spring and the restoration water level. The Authority recommends conditions regarding the provision of septic tanks, soakaways and foul drainage provision in conjunction with the construction of buildings i.e. dive centre and hotel, and the disposal of surface water from parking areas.

5.2 Tidenham Parish Council comment as follows:-

“I refer to the above application recently made by T. S. Thomas & Sons which falls to the County Council to determine. My Council has now had the opportunity of examining the proposals in detail and I have been asked to inform you that Councillors unanimously voted to continue their whole-hearted support for this scheme. Indeed, this support is not confined to members of the Parish Council contact with a large number of our parishioners suggests that the scheme will he welcomed within the Parish, not only for the Opportunities for using the facilities themselves, but also from an economic point of view.

It is therefore the view of this Parish Council that planning permission should he granted on this application.”

5.3 Chepstow Town Council comment as follows:

‘Further to our letter of 23rd Januaiy 1996 members have now had the opportunity of making a full appraisal of the development proposals for afteruse of Dayhouse Quariy and now fully support the recommendation for approval made by Tidenham Parish Council.

The site owners and their technical advisers, M J. Carter Associates are to be congratulated regarding the comprehensive and well presented nature of the application and for the care that has been taken to present a proposal that appears to have every prospect of providing an afieruse situation of the highest order.”

5.4 Gwent County Council comment as follows:

"that as the application has no implications for Gwent in terms of increased traffic I would offer no observations on the revised proposal for restoration and landscaping.”

5.5 Heath and Safety Executive (Offshore Safety Division. Diving - National Responsibility Team comment as follows:

1. "Thank you for the letter at the Reference. The position of the Health and Safety Executive with respect to this site is that in its current use as a Quarry the duty of enforcement of Health and Safety legislation rests with our Area Office in Bristol. If planning permission is granted for the site to be restored for recreational use the duty of enforcement will transfer to the Environmental Health Department of the Forest of Dean District Council, Coleford on a date mutually agreed by the two departments concerned"

2. HSE‘S Diving - National Responsibility Team‘s interest is that it provides specialist diving advice to all Government Departments on diving health and safety and I provide that advice with respect to diver training.

3. I have consulted with my colleagues at Bristol and Coleford and we have agreed that the Executive does not need to be formally consulted at this stage.”

5.6 English Nature comment as follows:-

“English Nature welcome these proposals and in particular the provision that th make to maintain and increase the nature conservation value of the area. welcome also the commitment that the applicant makes to involving the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in further developing the wildlife potential of the site and we would wish to encourage consideration of creation offlirther wetland habitats and lake side vegetation.

The proposals would appear to be a welcome way forward and to be well supported by the local community on which the applicant is to be congratulated”

5.7 Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust confirm that they have no comment to make on the proposals.

5.8 Forest of Dean District Council comment as follows:

“I can confirm that members of the Planning (Development Control) Committee considered the application at their meeting on the 5th March 1996. They voted unanimously to give their strong support to the proposal.

I enclose a copy of the relevant committee report as requested and would also request that every effort is made to overcome any reservations the County Surveyor may have to ensure that a unique opportunity is not lost.”

Highways Agency were consulted (access onto a trunk road) on the application. They have “directed” that any planning permission shall include the following conditions:

“(1) No development shall be commenced on the land to which the application relates, unless and until the work in (2) of this condition has been completed by the Secretary of State for Transport.

(2) The work referred to in (1) of this condition above of the construction of a new access and the closure of the existing access to the A48 trunk road as indicated on the applicant’s plan THJDQ/5-96/58 14, 4-96/5769 and 4-96/5760, and the installation of a ghost island right turn facility which fully complies with departmental standard TD 9/93, subject to such modifications as the Secretary of State may decide to make.

REASON(S) for the direction:

To ensure that the A48 trunk road continues to serve its purpose as part of the national system of routes for through traffic in accordance with Section 10 of the Highways Act 1980 and to satisfy the reasonable requirements of road safety on that road.”

REPRESENTATiONS

6.1 The application was publicised by means of a site notice (27.1.96) and a newspaper advertisement in a local newspaper (27.1.96). A letter was also posted to every household in the village advising them that an application had been submitted.

6.2 A public exhibition of the proposals was held by the applicants in November 1995 and the public responses to the proposals were included in the appendices attached to
the application. [CPO note: These are available to any member who wishes to inspect them.]

6.3 A letter of support received from Chepstow and Wye Valley Branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club confirming a strong level of interest and support from the local and regional sporting diving community.

6.4 One letter from a Tidenham resident has been received expressing concern regarding noise levels, opening hours, vehicular access to the waters edge and use of motor
boats. The resident added that subject to his concerns being alleviated overall the proposals for restoring Dayhouse Quarry could be a positive move for Tidenham and
the surrounding area.

6.5 A letter of support has been received from another resident stating that the views of the Residents Association was compiled only by 3 members without reference to other members of the Association.

6.6 The letters are available to any member who wishes to inspect them.

6.7 Tidenham Residents Association generally welcome the proposals and have written a comprehensive response which is summarised below:

(i) Principle of Afteruse. Noted that the County is only considering the “principle” of alternative recreational a.fteruse of the quarry and that the siting of the various building elements, etc would be approved by the District Council.

(ii) Detail and Siting.

Acknowledged that the detail and siting of the various elements (buildings), etc are not included in the application and will require further submission and approval.

(iii) Noise Pollution, Light Pollution and Nuisance.

Should be acknowledged that the village is an area of very low ambient noise and at right, light levels. Noise and light aspects particularly for the proposed elements at the northern end of the proposed site, nearest the village, should be considered more carefully by the District Council at the appropriate time of further detailed planning submissions.

(iv) Reinstatement of Existing Levels and Landscaping

Welcome proposals to reinstate levels surrounding the quarry includ reducing stockpiled waste materials at the northern end of the quarry. Further consideration should be given to additional landscaping in the north corner of the site adjacent to the Tidenham House Barn.

(v) Proposed Mountaineering Use and Openness of Existing Footpaths.

Seems to be conflict between the use envisaged by rock climbers mountaineers and the stated open aspect of footpaths surrounding the sii Conflict would appear to be that rock climbers used to climbing on natui rock surfaces are not accustomed to paying for their activities. Likeljhoc that climbers will park in the village, seeking to gain access to rock faces fro the village and public footpaths.

(vi) Traffic.

Applicant states that traffic movements from the new application will be less than from the existing quarry workings. However it remains the access to the site from the A48 is dangerous and site lines cannot be improved. The provision of the Chepstow Outer Bypass, if ever constructed, would improve the situation.

In conclusion the Residents Association state that they would wish to see the proposals for restoration to a recreational afteruse granted as the proposals would generally benefit the community.

7. DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENT’S OBSERVATIONS

HIGHWAYS

7. 1 No objection but state that the Highways Agency is the Highway Authority in this case. However they state that the “new” access may affect public footpath FTM65 and this may need diversion.

PLANNING

7.2 Dayhouse quarry first became operational in 1929 and has continued quarrying, with subsequent extension approvals, up to the present day. And the quarry has attained its “natural” limit with little or no potential to further extend. With approximately 2 years limestone extraction remaining (applicants estimate) before quarrying ceases, it is now appropriate that the restoration and afteruse potential of the quarry be finalised in order to facilitate the final restoration phase of the quarry and subsequent recreational use.

Clearly, the quarry has been operating in very close proximity to Tidenham village but it is not however subject to planning regulations that may now be applied to more
modern quarrying approvals to reduce and control potential environmental impact

In recent years the County Council has received numerous complaints from Tidenham residents and other local groups, regarding quarrying and related activities, specifically noise, dust and blasting.

7.5 With the rising number of complaints, the County Council instructed consultants in April/March 1995 to undertake a limited Environmental Review of the quarry in cooperation with the quarry owners T.S. Thomas & Sons (Lydney) Ltd. The review was undertaken in conjunction with existing environmental legislation. The review concluded that the close proximity of the quarry to Tidenham village represents a clash of two fundamentally opposing land uses that will always result in some degree of conflict. And since the commencement of quarrying operations many years ago planning controls have changed considerably.

7.6 However the consultants generally concluded that the operators followed modern quarrying practice, complied with legislation (Health and Safety at Work Act,
Environmental Protection Act or the Water Act) and regularly monitored the effects of noise and blasting. And noted that the operator had gone to considerable lengths at times to reduce the scale of the impacts that occur and to take into account the concerns of the nearby residents.

7.7 Finally the consultants were invited to examine the future potential of the quarry for recreational use once quarry working had ceased. The consultants concluded that the most appropriate afteruse would be a water based recreational use or combination of water uses.

7.8 Government guidance regarding the reclamation of mineral workings is contained in Mineral Planning Guidance Note no: 7. Paragraph 82 states that, “Mineral workings may be reclaimed for a wide range of subsequent uses which fall into the broad category “amenity use “. These may include open grassland for informal recreational use, basic preparations for more formal sports facilities, amenity woodland, lagoons for water recreation, and the conservation of landscape and wildlife.” The guidance note provides further information’ on the preparation of reclamation schemes, provision of tree planting, provision of habitats for conservation and education, etc. Clearly different water recreational uses have different requirements and while the dual use of water areas for some form of recreation and nature conservation may often be attractive, mixing of such uses is in practice rarely compatible unless they can be physically separated within the configuration and area of water concerned.

7.9 The above guidance is currently under review (December 1995). The ‘new’ draft guidance sets out the contribution which restored mineral sites can make to the Government’s policies for sustainable development and mineral working, and for land use and other policies in the wider countryside. The guidance advises, on the scope of information which should be provided with applications for new mineral developments, to enable relevant planning conditions to be drafted for adequate reclamation to be achieved, etc.

7.10 There is strong support for the application from the Forest of Dean District Council and Tidenham Parish Council. Equally Tidenham Residents Association generally support the proposals.

7. 11 In conclusion, Dayhouse quarry is nearing the end of its working life. There are no conditions attached to existing planning consents for the site in respect of restoration or afteruse. There is clearly a need to restore the site and the depth and configuration of the quarry limit the range of restoration options for the site. Based on a detailed assessment by the applicants over the last few years of possible ways of restoring the quarry it is concluded that the quarry should be restored for a leisure and recreational use with a strong emphasis on diving. It is concluded that the development of a leisure and recreational area at Dayhouse Quarry constitutes the best option for the restoration of the site. The proposed development will facilitate the return of the quarry to a beneficial afteruse which will be accessible to the local community as well as the diving community over a much larger area.

7.12 Approval of the proposed development of the site will provide a high quality diving centre with training and accommodation facilities together with an inn or hotel to cater for local as well as visitors’ needs. It is possible that additional recreational activities will include climbing and canoeing. Landscape and habitat enhancement measures are an integral part of the proposals and will result in an improvement in the visual quality and ecological value of the site.

7.13 The proposed development will provide some employment and it will result in an improvement in the appearance and ecological value of the site and a reduction in the traffic and noise impact of the site. The proposed development will result in a significant improvement in the quality of the environment at the site and will prevent the site becoming derelict.

7.14 The proposed development provides a unique opportunity to restore Dayhouse quarry to a beneficial afteruse with landscape and wildlife benefits. The sport of scuba diving is growing rapidly and there is clearly, national and local demand for protected, all weather sites with clear water at a range of depths. Equally the site may provide opportunities for other recreational facilities i.e. canoeing, climbing and informal leisure.

7. 15 The details of the buildings, structures, car parks, etc that will be needed to support the proposed afteruse will be the subject of further approvals by the District Council. The reception building and Dive centre will be constructed at an early stage while other facilities at the site will be developed in a phased manner as the use of the site increases and to meet demand.

7. 16 Accordingly I consider that the planning application should be approved.

RECOMMENDED

That planning permission be granted subject to the conditions incorporating the following requirements:

(i) Commencement of development within 10 years,
(ii) Restoration and Reprofiling of existing quarry in accordance with submitted plans and supporting statement details to facilitate the approved afteruse,
(iii) Submission of fully detailed plans showing layout, siting, design and external appearance of buildings, layout of access roads and footpaths, landscaping and
method of foul and surface drainage water for each element of the development and approval by the District Council, prior to commencement of the development,

(iv) All the above details (referred to in (iii) above) to be submitted within 8 years of the date of permission,
(v) Broad overall landscape scheme for the whole site to be submitted and approved by the Director of Environment, in consultation with District Council,
(vi) Details of landscaping to be submitted with each element of the development, refer to (iii) above, and subsequent maintenance of planting for 5 years,
(vii) Provision of car parking for each element of the development, in accordance with the District Council’s current parking standards,
(viii) All services (gas, water, sewerage, electricity) to be laid underground,
(vx) Provision of new vehicular access from the site to the A48 (Highways Agency direction),
(x) Closure of existing vehicular access,
(xi) No installation of floodlights, arc-lighting or similar high-intensity lighting equipment without the approval of District Council,
(xii) Requirement of the Environment Agency (ex NRA),

(a) scheme for the provision and implementation of foul drainage works,
(b) provision of oil interceptors to collect surface water drainage from car parking areas and hardstandings to prevent water pollution.

(xiii) No public address system to be installed without the approval of the District Council,
(xiv) No power boating, water skiing, etc on water area with the exception of powered boat(s) for rescue operations, administrative or maintenance purposes,
(xv) Noise limits of powered-craft on water (referred to in (xiv) above), to be agreed Wj District Council,
(xvi) Exclude use of site for camping or touring carvans other than with permission District Council,
(xvii) Removal of permitted development rights regarding temporary uses of land or buildings (Part 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. i.e. power boat racing, hovercraft flying, car, cart, banger, motor or motor cycle racing.

The reasons for imposing conditions relate to protection of the environment, visual amenity highway safety and the amenity of local residents.

Background Papers:

(a) Previous Development Control File: DF.8540/A.
(b) Current Development Control File: DF.8540/B.
(c) Applicants supporting statements, documents and plans.
(d) Structure Plan for Gloucestershire 1st Alteration.

CONTACT OFFICER: Mr D. Chandler, Principal Planning Officer. Tel: 01452-425667.


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