Sand extraction plans at Druridge Bay face opposition

Proposals to extract almost 70,000 tonnes of sand per year from farmland close to a popular Northumberland visitor spot are facing opposition

Jonathan Rodger is objecting the plans
Jonathan Rodger is objecting the plans

Proposals to extract almost 70,000 tonnes of sand per year from farmland close to a popular Northumberland visitor spot are facing opposition.

An application has been lodged with Northumberland County Council which would see 69,000 tonnes of sand extracted per year from a farm near Druridge Bay Country Park.

The plan for the site, part of the Northumberland Heritage Coast, would see 24, 44-tonne vehicle movements every day for several years.

The application is facing opposition, with concerns surrounding the loss of sand dunes at the site, the vehicle movements’ use of minor roads, as well as effect on wildlife.

However, the farmer on whose land the extraction is proposed last night insisted the application is simply seeking continuation of operations at the site which have been ongoing since the 1960s and will continue until 2020.

The application is from William Bell of Hemscott Hill Farm near Widdrington, through Newcastle-based agent Ward Hadaway.

It relates to determination of conditions for continued sand extraction at the site, proposing the removal of 69,000 tonnes of sand annually.

The proposals are facing an objection from Jonathan Rodger, 37, of nearby Druridge Farm.

He said last night: “It is a very serious application. It is very substantial sand extraction. 69,000 tonnes a year which is a lot.

“A significant stretch of the dunes would be completely stripped.

“I live on the beach and greatly enjoy the beach and would find the beach not as nice if there was sand extraction to this extent going on.

“I am very very concerned about the transport implications because the proposal proposes 24 movements of 44 tonne vehicles six days a week along the beach road through the village. I have two young children, I walk along that road, lots of other leisure users use that road. The road is dropping to bits, it is prone to flooding.

“The road struggles to cope with hay and harvest wagons.”

Mr Rodger also claimed the site “is at the centre of bird and wildlife areas beloved of twitchers the world over.”

Mr Bell last night said: “It is just a review of the existing planning. It is just the same as it was.

“I do not know what the fuss is.

“The county council will determine the application in due course.”

Confirmation of other objections could not be obtained yesterday due to the planning section of the authority’s website being down.

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