Protest march planned amid fear of more lorries in village

Shailesh Vara at Earith Village Hall on December 21. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Shailesh Vara at Earith Village Hall on December 21. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A protest march has been organised in Earith to highlight local opposition to plans which could see dozens of extra lorries travelling through the village every day.

Residents say houses are being shaken, roads are being wrecked, and the character of the village is being destroyed by the increasing volume of traffic – particularly heavy goods vehicles – which use the main road through the village on a daily basis.

And that number could be about to increase by 90 HGV trips through the village every day if plans for a new irrigation reservoir and gravel extraction site at nearby Haddenham are backed by Cambridgeshire County Council.

William Dennis, of Dennis (Haddenham) Ltd, applied in April last year for permission to construct irrigation reservoirs via the extraction of sand and gravel from a site off the A1123 at Hill Row Causeway.

The application also requests permission to widen the vehicular access onto the A1123 at Doles Drove, construct a mineral processing plant and three temporary office buildings at the site.

In a planning statement, agents acting for the farming firm said: “The proposed development involving the establishment of an irrigation reservoir can be undertaken without resulting in any material harm to local amenity or the environment and clear policy support exists for the facility that will assist in maintaining high levels of food production.

“Accordingly, there is no reason to refuse planning permission for the development as there is no conflict with development plan policies nor central governmental advice.”

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The agents said an independent report considered the need for an additional source of irrigation water at the farm to support “intensive vegetable growing” and added that the works would provide “security and flexibility” to the farm in the event of low rainfall.

The applicant says that lorries going to and from the site will “likely” head towards St Ives via Earith and Bluntisham but added that it would be temporary while extraction took place and there was “nothing to suggest there would be any constraints to goods vehicles using the A1123 through the village”.

Wendy Oldfield, who lives in Earith and is helping to organise the protest march, said: “Our main concern is the traffic. The roads are not wide enough, they are wrecked all the time and the number of vehicles passing through is destroying an historic village.

“We are really suffering with night time noise and with houses being shaken. There are broken wing mirrors on the pavement from lorries too because the road just isn’t wide enough.”

The protest march is scheduled to take place on January 27, from 10.30am, starting at Earith Village Hall, off High Street. Anyone wishing to join the march is welcome to attend.

The MP for North West Cambridgeshire, Shailesh Vara, visited Earith on December 21 to hear concerns from villagers.

He said: “This was a very successful meeting with local residents at which a number of issues were raised.

“This included concern about lorries driving through and I have agreed with the parish council to work with them and Councillor Steve Criswell, Councillor Jon Neish and Councillor Lewis Besley with a view to trying to resolve matters on this long-standing issue.”

A decision on the plans had been scheduled for later this month but it is understood that the decision has been delayed under February while more information is considered by officials at the county council.

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