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Heated debate in Brixton over landowner's plan to fill brickyard quarry

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 02, 2014

  • At the meeting in St Mary’s Church, Brixton, residents said their lives will be affected as some 40 lorries a day go through the narrow South Hams roads. Some said they fear that they will face ‘10 years of hell’Picture: JOHN ALLEN

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Villagers confronted a landowner who plans to truck thousands of lorry loads of construction waste through their community.

A public meeting in Brixton, Devon, failed to reassure local people over proposals to fill in an old brickyard quarry.

The meeting in St Mary’s church, which was attended by residents, planning consultants and Michael Bastard from the nearby Kitley Estate, led to some heated debate.

Mr Bastard wants to use pre-screened inert demolition and construction waste to fill in part of the Steer Point Quarry, near Brixton.

Part of the quarry will be returned to agricultural land and the reminder will be improved wetlands, according to a planning application submitted to Devon County Council.

Residents in Brixton say their lives will be affected as some 40 lorries a day go through the narrow South Hams roads. They fear that they will face “ten years of hell”, and that children, old people and walkers will be put in danger on the narrow lane leading to the southern tip of Steer Point peninsula, and on the busy A379 through the village.

During the meeting local resident Paul Bassett accused the planning consultants, Aardvark, of not doing their homework.

“Don’t come to Brixton because we won’t allow it,” he said.

Mr Bastard said that restoration of the site was a legal requirement, but he was accused of “doing it for money”.

He said that early in the application process he had proposed creating a temporary road to the quarry from the Kitley Estate. But a Devon County Council highways officer had rejected the idea because it would have gone across an area of outstanding natural beauty when there was already an adequate road in place.

Mr Bastard said the lorries delivering construction waste would be strictly controlled and not allowed on to the site if there were complaints about their driving.

But Steve Martin, landlord of the Foxhound pub and a former HGV driver, said: “They will be paid to tip so they will be flying.”

Villagers said they had only learned of the planning application too late to have their voices heard.

They said that Devon County Council had advertised the planning notice in the North Devon Journal.

Villagers were concerned about the impact on their primary school and on property prices.

Jodie Hoare from Aardvark said the planners had agreed to consider objections from the village even though the official consultation period had ended.

And she agreed to revisit the transport plan for the project and consult the village again.

Mr Bastard angered many in the crowd when he insisted that the impact on village residents would not be significant.

And tempers were fuelled when he ended the meeting by saying: “It would be great if at the next meeting a couple of you learned some manners.”

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