Dorset councillors to back objections for proposed Purple Haze site

Councillors in Dorset have re-affirmed a previous objection to a quarry planned for the Purple Haze site in Hampshire – just south of Verwood.

Up to 4.5 million tonnes of sand and some gravel could come from the site over a period of 20-25 years – expected to generate around 90 daily lorry movements – most of these on the A31.

Dorset Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday voted to formally back an objection to the application when it is considered by Hampshire planners.

Support for the rejection came from Verwood councillor Simon Gibson, who said there were wide concerns about the Hampshire minerals and waste plan which residents had lived with for at least a dozen years.

Alderholt councillor David Tooke took the opportunity to call on Hampshire Council to repair and resurface what was know locally as the Somerley Road, between Alderholt and Ringwood. He said the road was deeply rutted and pot-holed, with the banks breaking away, even before any extra traffic was considered.

“We need to make a strong representation to Hampshire currently on the state of that road,” he said.

The quarry site is close to the Moors Valley Country Park, which receives around a million visitors a year, and the B3081 with the northern end next to the Dorset border.

Hampshire has identified the site in its minerals and waste plan for digging building sand and then for landfill waste.

Dorset councillors were told that apart from the additional traffic, there could be effects in the wider area from flooding, to the ecology and to recreational use of the area which is popular with horse riders, mountain bikers and walkers.

Dorset Council officers believe that surface water from the site could flow westward, towards Dorset, with the potential for effecting nature conservation areas including Ebblake Bog and the Moors River.

Concern has also come over restoration plans for the site once the digging comes to an end.

Purple Haze area marked in red

Dorset Council’s planning portfolio holder, Cllr David Walsh, told Tuesday’s meeting that no mitigation measures would be able to overcome the problems likely to be caused by the use of the site, and the situation was likely to be worse if two other extraction areas, at Midgham Farm and an extension to Bleak Hill Quarry, near Alderholt were also exploited, adding to a cumulative increase in traffic.

He said the Dorset Council view was that the Purple Haze site should be removed completely from the Hampshire minerals and waste plan and the current planning application for extraction of sand and gravel should be refused.

“Mitigation alone is not considered enough to prevent permanent damage,” he said.

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