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Ryarsh a step closer to being spared from a 3.6 million tonne sand quarry

By Caitlin Webb, local democracy reporter

A village is a step closer to being spared from a 3.6 million tonne sand quarry.

The top team of councillors at Kent County Council has agreed an extraction site should not be built at Ryarsh despite being listed on their minerals and waste local plan.

However, KCC officials claim campaigners may have a long battle ahead of them as the decision needs to be signed off my the full council and will go out for a public consultation.

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The area off Roughetts Road, Ryarsh, which could be turned into a sand quarry (5808903)
The area off Roughetts Road, Ryarsh, which could be turned into a sand quarry (5808903)

Also the site's promoter has raised objections to the 12 hectares of land off Roughetts Road being pulled from the list.

Legal advisers Landmark Chambers submitted a challenge at a committee meeting last Thursday, claiming the counci's green belt assessment was flawed.

In its statement the firm wrote: "It is considered that very special circumstances exist to override the presumption against this particular inappropriate development within the green belt."

KCC sought its own legal advice straight after the meeting, and is preparing a finalised response.

At Monday's cabinet meeting, Cllr Peter Oakford said: "This is a very controversial subject.

"It is something you are never going to make everybody happy because we are talking about going into areas of a local communities and looking into whether or not we can extract minerals from the ground which can cause disruption to their area.

"We have had legal representation from the owner of Ryarsh, which is one of the sites which was put forward, and the recommendation is that it is rejected as a mineral extraction site."

A full meeting of Kent County Council is scheduled to go ahead on December 13, where the council's full legal response is expected to be heard.

A petition with 2,734 signatures was submitted in the House of Commons by Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat (Con) earlier this month.

The sites likely to be put forward in KCC's pre-submission draft mineral sites plan are Chapel Farm in Lenham, Moat Farm in Five Oak Green, and Stonecastle Farm Quarry in Whested.

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