Barrington quarry decision deferred amid noise and pollution concerns

The Barrington quarry site. Picture: CCC

The Barrington quarry site. Picture: CCC - Credit: Archant

Lorries hauling waste material into an empty quarry in Barrington could force families to leave their homes amid fears of “excruciating” noise and pollution.

Cement supplier Cemex Materials Ltd has applied to renew permission to continue transporting waste building materials by railway to fill in Barrington quarry. Permission, which was originally granted in 2011, expires in December.

On Thursday, Cambridgeshire County Council’s planning committee discussed plans to extend the scheme, allowing the Haslingfield Road site to be completely filled in so that it could be “contoured” to look as it had done before digging began.

According to a report which went before the committee: “The current application proposes that the pre-quarrying contours would be reinstated and the land restored primarily to chalk downland with, amenity/meadow grassland, woodland and hedgerows.”

Residents, however, objected to the transportation of the waste material past their homes, with a railway to the quarry passing behind some residential houses.

Ray Kemp, of Barrington parish council, welcomed the detailed plans – but said the impact on residents needed to be considered.

Councillor Kemp said: “The impact of large trains going past people’s gardens is not just the noise, it is the bulk of the things. There is a smell and a certain vibration associated with it.”

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One resident, whose garden backs onto the tracks, said the noise from the trains braking was “excruciating”.

The resident said: “The issue is we have to listen to this over a sustained period. It is overwhelming for us at the moment. There is excessive squealing from the brakes of the trains, and there are problems with them operating outside hours and excessive idling.”

Another resident said: “We don’t want to give up our family home, but unfortunately it may mean that if this planning application goes through we may be forced to leave.”

Liberal Dem councillor Sebastian Kindersley pointed out that the empty space in the quarry was worth “many millions of pounds” in contracts for people looking to dispose of waste.

Conservative Bill Hunt said newer, quieter trains could be used instead of the older, more polluting, models in order to make things better for people living in houses nearby.

The committee decided to defer the decision, with councillors saying there needed to be discussions about whether newer, quieter trains could be used to lessen the impact on residents. The application will come back before the committee at a later date.