Frequently Asked Questions
Please find below a set of responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs), which we’ll update regularly with questions we receive from members of the community.
Being open with you: we may not always be able to answer all questions – either because we don’t yet have the information, or because it would not be in the community’s interest to share confidential elements of the strategy.
However, we will strive to keep you as fully updated as possible wherever we can.
Hamble Airfield is owned by Persimmon Homes, a major national housebuilder. They acquired the site because they hope, at some point in the future, to be able to get planning permission for housing on a part of the site. To do this, they would need to convince Eastleigh Borough Council to allocate the site for housing. They were not successful in doing so in the new Eastleigh Local Plan which is expected to be adopted shortly but they can promote it again every time the Local Plan is reviewed.
The site is known to have a large deposit of sharp sand and gravel underneath which is a national asset as a source of construction materials. The government requires local authorities to ‘safeguard’ these assets so that consideration can be given to whether they can be extracted before anything else happens to the site. So even if Eastleigh had allocated any part of the site for other development, the sand and gravel extraction (if permitted) would have to be carried out first. If permission for extraction is refused it makes no difference to the other issues which Eastleigh Borough Council consider are relevant planning considerations for the site – but these can change over time of course.
Cemex is a multinational company founded in Mexico in 1906 which operates quarries and production facilities for aggregates used in the construction industry. It started operating in the UK when it purchased Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) in 2005 and is a well-resourced and reputable company with a large UK market share.
The Cemex application is for the extraction of up to 1.5million tonnes of sharp sand and gravel and for the restoration of the site after the completion of the extraction process. Extraction rates from sites like this are generally between 100,000 and 300,000 tonnes each year depending on demand and transport capacity, so it could take up to ten years to complete.
We do not know the commercial details, but Cemex will have an agreement with Persimmon under which they will carry out the sand and gravel extraction whilst ownership of the land will be retained by Persimmon. Normally such arrangements are not planning considerations, but it may become relevant if there are conditions to be attached to the restoration and maintenance of the site after extraction. It is highly likely that Persimmon will continue to promote the idea of some residential development on at least a part of the site in the future but that is not something which Cemex have to say anything about as part of this application.
Rather confusingly, in counties like Hampshire planning decisions about the extraction of minerals like sand and gravel (as well as facilities for waste disposal) must be taken by the county council rather than the district council which takes decisions about everything else. That means that Hampshire County Council will be the decision-maker for the Cemex application not Eastleigh Borough Council. The district council can express a view, and it can make representations on your behalf, but it does not have the final say in what happens.
The actual decision will be made by the elected members of the County Council’s Regulatory Committee having received a report from its officers.
Hampshire County Council is required to produce and keep up to date a detailed plan to ensure that there will be adequate supplies of various different construction minerals for at least seven years into the future. In 2013 it published its Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan (HMWP) after several years of consultation and community engagement. Despite the opposition of Hamble Parish Council and local people (who came together to form RAGE – Residents Against Gravel Extraction) Hamble Airfield was allocated as a site for sand and gravel extraction. The plan was subject to an independent examination where a government inspector looked at individual proposals and he agreed that there was sufficient evidence to justify it being allocated.
Including Hamble Airfield in the HMWP did not mean that it had planning permission. A planning application to cover all of the necessary details and satisfy the policies of the plan is still required before extraction can go ahead. That is what Cemex have now submitted.
Government policy sets out a long list of important issues that any application for minerals extraction has to address, ranging from noise, dust production and flood risk, through to the impact on landscape and wildlife. A key concern for Hamble of course is the impact on the local highway network of the vehicle movements as materials are transported away from the site and then when restoration takes place.
The application also has to explain how the site will be restored after the gravel extraction process has been completed. The HMWP has policies which require restoration to countryside with some degree of public access permitted. This will be a crucial issue for us in considering our response to the application. We will also be looking at what this means for how Persimmon Homes might look to promote any housing development on the site in the future.
No, that decision was taken and confirmed back in 2013. Hampshire County Council has kept the HMWP under review and is planning to produce an updated new plan in the next few years. Importantly, the annual monitoring produced by Hampshire County Council does not appear to show a decline in demand for sand and gravel which might have meant that extraction at Hamble Airfield had become unnecessary.
No, it does not. Cemex has to demonstrate that the extraction, transportation, and restoration processes can be carried out in a way which satisfies Hampshire County Council as the decision maker that it complies with the other policies in the HMWP and that the impacts on the local community will be acceptable. At this stage, you and other consultees, including Hamble Parish Council, have the opportunity to raise objections and to seek mitigation measures as part of the decision-making process. This is a major planning application, and it will be subject to careful scrutiny by a wide range of organisations and agencies as well as local representatives. It is important to remember however that planning decisions have to be made on the basis of evidence and informed judgement and not just because people would prefer that something was not approved.
A major application such as this one can only be permitted after a careful evaluation of the effect of the development on wildlife and environmental considerations such as noise, air quality, and flood risk. Some work was done to assess this when the site was allocated in the HMWP in 2013. But there may have been significant changes since then and Cemex will have to provide a substantial volume of evidence that the impacts will be within the acceptable limits the Government sets. These will be evaluated by Hampshire County Council when they look at the application but also by consultees such as Natural England and the Environment Agency who are independent and have no vested interest in the development going ahead. The Parish Council will review the representations they make and engage with them if it has questions or concerns about what they are saying.
This is probably the most significant issue that the application gives rise to, especially as the recent appeal at GE Aviation and the Satchell Lane planning application were both determined on the basis that any additional amount of traffic on Hamble Lane from new development would be unacceptable. We know that the County Council has developed plans to reduce traffic congestion through a programme of highway works, but these are not currently funded or programmed. So we will look very carefully at what Cemex propose and how the County Council responds. It is too early to say what issues will arise, but the position is undoubtedly different from the way it was in 2013 and this is potentially significant.
We met with Cemex at the start of February and asked a similar question. They replied that they only use contractors whose fleet meet the Euro 6 Standard which limits the amount of harmful emissions produced by the vehicles. The Trucks are 44 tonnes when loaded.
As the site has already been identified in the HMWP as one which is suitable and still required for mineral extraction there is very little to be gained from seeking to rerun this discussion. The Parish Council will review the details of the planning application once they are available and identify all of those specific issues which are of concern to our community. It will engage constructively with Cemex and with the County Council to see if these can be resolved. If they cannot then we will raise objections to the planning application on that basis. Without prejudice to our position, we will try to ensure that if the planning application is approved then it has the least possible impact on our residents whilst the work is carried out, and the best possible steps are taken to restore the site in a way which we support. We will also take account of what Persimmon Homes might look to do in the future.
The allocation of the site by the HMWP means that the presumption will be in favour of granting planning permission in accordance with Government planning policy. We have to identify specific issues that we believe would make the granting of planning permission unacceptable. If we just say that we oppose the principle of the development and hope that this is enough then this is very unlikely to be successful. We also have to remember that any decision to refuse the application has to stand up to scrutiny before an independent inspector at an appeal. If we can obtain changes to the proposals that would lessen their impact or improve the long-term outcome, then it would be sensible to try to do this because the application might be approved without them anyway. The Parish Council will represent your interests vigorously and constructively, which will include discussions as necessary with Cemex, Hampshire County Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, and other agencies. We have engaged professional support to help us do this.
Class Action isn’t an appropriate tool for this situation. It would be used where there has been large scale loss or damage typically in situations such as breaches to competition law, data privacy and breach, financial services, shareholder, environmental, personal injury, and product liability claims. It would not relate to a statutory process such as planning, as this is mandated by national government, law, and guidance.
It may well be that we look to retain a QC at some point – especially if the application goes to Appeal for determination. However, at this stage there is a formal process to follow and there would only be grounds for a legal challenge if Hampshire County Council does not follow this process correctly. Any legal challenge would normally be in the form of a Judicial Review via the High Court.
I hope this helps and I’m sorry to disappoint with my answer.
I contacted the case officer at HCC with your question and received the following response:
With regard to your question on ‘compensation’, this is more a legal matter but in my experience I have never come across it in relation to the lawful issuing of a planning permission for any development where the proper processes have been followed. The planning system operates in a manner that ensures that all decisions ought to be made in the full cognisance of the relevant planning policies, consultee comments and local representations and in an open and public manner. The planning system aims to ensure that all decisions are made in the wider public interest and in accordance with the Local Plan and therefore compensation, in my opinion, is not something that will be available.
So I think the answer is no!
Cemex have told us that, should the application be approved, they will seek to enter into contracts with large infrastructure projects operating in the area that need to dispose of spoil. This is common practice. They will also look at a range of smaller projects to facilitate a regular flow of material back into the site as the restoration takes place.
All material coming to site would be subject to environmental permits and would be regularly checked and audited. As part of this process, Cemex would need to maintain a full audit trail of where infill has come from, what the material comprised, and where on the site it was used. The material would also be sampled when it comes to site to ensure it is free from contaminants.
We are hosting the meeting to provide the community with more information about both the process and detail of the planning application, as we appreciate that residents have a lot of questions and concerns. We also want to share our assessment of the application at this stage, and specifically highlight any gaps in Cemex’s proposals. These gaps provide the best opportunity to get the application rejected, and so we will pursue them with Hampshire County Council over the coming weeks and months ahead of the decision being made. It will be in rallying behind specific, targeted weaknesses in the application where our local community can have the greatest impact.
We liaised with Paul’s office and were aware that Mondays could be difficult for him. However, we were told that he might be able to get an exemption from the House to join the meeting, given its importance to Hamble. We know that Paul is doing all he can to support us as a Parish Council and the village in opposing the application.
Eastleigh Borough Council has confirmed that, as Paul is unable to attend our Public Meeting, they would be very happy for him to attend their LAC meeting on March 3rd at Pilands Wood. The meeting starts at 6pm but the Cemex discussion will commence at 7pm. All are welcome.
Identifying a date for the Public Meeting was not straightforward. We need to give all relevant statutory bodies time to respond to the application, so that we can then give you as much information as possible at our meeting. Finding a large enough venue was another challenge and provided limited scope for dates. Monday 28 February was the best possible option when all of the circumstances were considered.
The Royal Southern Yacht Club was chosen because it currently offers the largest capacity of any venue in the village.
We hope to see as many residents as possible on the 28th.
The meeting will be Chaired by Cllr Simon Hand and the agenda will be published on Wednesday 23rd February 2022.
The transport assessment submitted by Cemex indicates that the majority of vehicles will be arriving and leaving the site in the morning, including during the period when children will be going to school.
We are waiting to see the consultation response from the Highways team at Hampshire County Council as this will be a critical response.
We have also written to the Highways team separately to ask a number of questions and will share these when we have received a response.
Eastleigh Borough Council is retaining a transport consultant to look at the transport assessment and Hampshire County Council’s response to it. We are working closely with them on this.
Eastleigh Borough Council’s Pollution Control Team have responded to the application as follows:
At this time the Pollution Team are unable to ascertain from the information provided that potential significant adverse impacts from air pollution and noise will be avoided, and that adverse impacts will be otherwise minimised to acceptable levels. On this basis we are unable to support the application at this time.
Hamble Parish Council representatives met with MDL on 28 January and as part of these discussions we made them aware of the Quarrying application. We have also used contacts in the community to make other marine businesses aware of the application and the implications of the application being approved.
The Hamble School Governors met on 15 February and as part of their discussions, considered the impact of the application on the school community. They have written to us outlining their concerns and we will be welcoming them to the Public Meeting on 28 February.
The wording of the Waste and Mineral Plan for the restoration of the site is that it will provide a “combination of grazing, nature conservation, open space, public access and woodland”. We will be talking to Hampshire County Council about the use of both Section 106 agreements (which are specific to the development) and the use of Planning Conditions (that are attached to the land title) in an attempt to safeguard the Airfield from residential development post-quarrying.
In our response to the consultation exercise, we asked for the following:
Following restoration, the whole of the site should be set aside for public access and use, managed by a public body. The public has long enjoyed access across the whole site, and we would wish this to be protected and guaranteed going forward.
Eastleigh Borough Council’s Economic Development team has made the following comment:
Cemex cites five principal economic benefits in its proposal: supplying the local construction industry with material, creating jobs, creating indirect spend in the local area through these new employees, paying business rates and a national aggregate levy. Of these, the locally sourced supply of construction material and the business rates revenue are the most compelling. The employment creation is low and the likely local spend correspondingly low whilst the national aggregate levy does not necessarily return to the local area. Increased travel movements on a single access road that already suffers from congestion is likely to lower the productivity of local commuters. On balance, the economic disadvantages appear to outweigh the benefits.
Hamble Parish Council will be issuing a business briefing to local businesses and have made a direct approach to a number of larger local employers, including Coopervision and BP.
Hamble Parish Council has set aside funds to respond to the application. We think there will be a need for a more active campaign once we get nearer to the application being considered by Hampshire County Council and are starting to think about how best to do this. We certainly would be happy to see local people and businesses helping with this stage of the campaign.
Hampshire County Council’s Waste and Minerals Plan was subject to an independent review in 2013, and this sadly resulted in Hamble Airfield being allocated as a quarry for sand and gravel.
If Hampshire County Council reject the Planning Application from Cemex, the applicant has the right to ask the Planning Inspector to reconsider it.
The wording of the Mineral and Waste Plan states that the restoration of the site will provide a “combination of grazing, nature conservation, open space, public access and woodland”. This will be secured by Hampshire County Council through the use of both Section 106 agreements (which are specific to the development) and the use of Planning Conditions (that are attached to the land title).
If Cemex were to cease trading their assets would be either be sold to another company with the restrictions in place or they would revert to the land owner which is Persimmon.
Come along to the Public Meeting on 28 February (7pm, Royal Southern Yacht Club), respond to the application, and keep an eye on our website for updates. We may need more help from the community as the application progresses.
The Parish Council’s website has a dedicated area where we will publish important documents and keep you up to date with what is happening with the planning application and our responses to it. We will be arranging a number of groups to look at key issues and ensure that there is a good level of communication between the Parish Council and our community.
We can request as part of our response that we do not want these types of herbicides being used especially given the impact of them on reptiles and other wildlife.
There is a wheel wash facility included in application as you indicate. Ensuring that the roads are kept clean is an essential requirement and we will request additional measures such as a road sweeper as part of our response.
Hampshire County Council are required to keep their Waste and Mineral Plan under review. This means checking whether things have happened when they planned them too and if not to look at alternatives to make sure that there is a sufficient supply of minerals – for example. This review was due to take place in 2020 and is running behind. They do expect to be starting that shortly and there will be a separate consultation on that.
The process that took place in 2014 is different to the current proposals. In 2014 the principle was established to have a quarry on Hamble Airfield, and this decided after a public enquiry. Although opposed by the village the decision was made to allocate the Airfield for quarrying. The decision to allocate the site means that there is a presumption in favour of it being developed subject to an assessment of detailed concerns and issues. These are what the current planning application sets out. A range of agencies, organisations and public bodies have all been asked to comment on the proposals and will be expected to address many of the issues you raise in your question.
When those responses are back, we will have a better understanding about what grounds we can pursue to try to prevent the quarry or to address the many issues that it present to the community.
Response from Cemex:
"HGVs would start arriving on site from 7am. We strongly discourage vehicles from arriving prior to this and at other sites have done this by requiring anyone who arrives prior to opening to wait for other vehicles to go in first, so they do not have any advantage by being too early. We would discipline any CEMEX contracted drivers that did this as a repeat occurrence or not allow them to the site any more if they were from elsewhere."
Response from Cemex:
"This would not happen. The plant site is very large compared to the size of an HGV and there is significant space within the site for queuing and waiting, should this be required. See below answer for more detail."
Response from Cemex:
"The largest vehicle (an artic) to come to the site is around 14m long. Our vehicle routes within the site, as shown by the green arrows on the Proposed Plant Site Plan, total around 760m long. So that would be around 50 vehicles able to queue, although there would never be this many on site at any one time. There are also another 10 official HGV parking spaces, as shown on the plan. However there is significantly more space than this within the plant site also so there would never be any queuing off-site."
We have requested a response from Hampshire County Council, which remains pending at 24/02/22.
Certainly other countries have started to recognise the detrimental impact of silica on people's health and have changed the regulations permitting quarrying near homes.
We are waiting to see what the response is from the Public Health lead before understanding what the likely issues are. We will make this available when it is published.
We will be looking to do a survey of users of the airfield shortly to understand what the impact will be in terms of where people will go instead and how frequently.
In terms of a longer term approach to the site the Hampshire Waste and Minerals Plan states that after quarrying the site will be used as a “combination of grazing, nature conservation, open space, public access and woodland”. This wording is also reflected in Eastleigh Borough Councils emerging Local Plan. Hamble Parish Council has as part of its response to the first Cemex consultation in November 2021 asked that the site be passed over into public ownership with a view to safeguarding public access for the future. We will also be seeking a thirty year management plan for the site, as a minimum.
At the moment we don’t know the answer to your question. The information on the site access is not clear about the safety arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists and other road users. This is a major concern given the number of people using this route each day either to the school, station, doctors or other facilities. We will be making representations on this and would urge others to as well.
We are also concerned that the presence of more HGV’s will make walking and cycling a less attractive and safe option – resulting in more people taking to their cars with the impact this has on health, congestion and air quality.
As far as we are aware the footpath remains as it is. It is outside the ownership of Persimmon so will not be impacted by the quarry.
No, the Parish Council hasn’t commissioned one in recent times although we did seek a audit of wildlife in the village more generally by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust several years ago.
There are a number of studies that Cemex has commissioned and these can be found either on Hampshire County Council's website or the Cemex section of our own website.
The best document to look at is the following: 18: Planning statement – Cemex (hambleparishcouncil.gov.uk). It sets out the nine key stages and then the restoration.