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Chalkpit quarry lorries result

17 October 2018

We are very pleased to report that Surrey County Councillors have agreed that the daily limit number for Chalkpit HGVs should be reduced from 156 to 112.

The main reason for the reduction was because no evidence had been put forward that the quarry's economic viability would be affected by a lower number. This was the point made firmly to the County Council by OLRG's solicitors Blake Morgan.

Our solicitors made clear that had SCC approved 156 HGVs a day, the decision would be open to judicial review because the County Council had not applied the proper legal test over economic viability.

Surrey County Council officers have now written to our solicitors asking for more details of the correct legal test.

OLRG Tandridge District Councillor Jackie Wren together with Oxted residents Amanda Griffiths and Lisa Willoughby spoke strongly against the proposal for 156 HGVs at the Surrey County Council meeting.

It is disappointing that Tandridge District Council forgot to submit a response to SCC's August 2018 consultation on the quarry lorries and only submitted a letter of objection on Monday, 15 October. We have queried this with TDC and been told that it was because of a problem with the Council's computer system which meant that the consultation was overlooked. We have been promised that the problem will be rectified for the future.

Together with Blake Morgan, we are reviewing all the details of the new planning controls for the quarry agreed by Surrey County Councillors on Wednesday. One of the controls is that there should be no quarry lorries at school drop off and pick up times but it's not clear how this would be enforced.

8 October 2018

OLRG is pressing Surrey County Council to put the safety of Oxted's schoolchildren and residents first and to drop its plan to approve a massive daily limit for HGVs using Chalkpit Quarry in Oxted.

We have engaged transport consultants Vectos and solicitors Blake Morgan and are challenging the County Council's proposal for a limit of 156 lorry movements a day (78 in and 78 out). We believe this figure is based on a fear of being sued rather than on what is a safe and reasonable number of HGVs.

Dozens of residents have written to the County Council detailing the daily dangers they face from the HGVs which travel through Oxted on narrow roads, parts of which are without a pavement and which schoolchildren use to walk to school. Residents have warned that someone will be badly injured or killed if such a high daily limit is approved.

Traffic experts, Vectos, have completed a thorough review of the route which has been sent to the County Council. It highlights how inadequate Chalkpit Lane and Barrow Green Road are to cope with HGV traffic. In many places it is impossible for an HGV and a car to pass. As part of the 32 page review from Vectos, the author writes:

'On visiting the area recently, during one car trip from the A25 to the top of Chalkpit Lane (at The Ridge) and back (via Barrow Green Road west of Chalkpit Lane), there were six separate occasions when a quarry HGV was unable to pass the car being driven that necessitated either a reversing manoeuvre (by the car driver) or the HGV having to drive into the verge (and on one occasion, mount a physical kerb). Local residents witness this every day and evidence has been submitted by numerous parties over many years documenting such occurrences.'

OLRG Tandridge District Councillor for Oxted North and Tandridge, Catherine Sayer, who along with other OLRG members has been working with the experts said: 'The proposed limits pose a huge threat to public safety and residents feel the risk of a fatality or fatalities is frighteningly high. We are going to fight this as far as we possibly can. Our primary concern is to ensure that those who travel on the roads, whether driving, walking, cycling or horse riding, are safe and without intimidation or fear of being hit by an HGV.'

A letter from solicitors Blake Morgan submitted to the County Council concludes: 'In light of the above legal tests, OLRG is therefore of the view that there is no evidence to justify the limits proposed by either the Applicant or Surrey County Council, and that such limits cannot be imposed without incurring a severe and wholly unacceptable risk to public safety.'

The County Council, which has spent more than 6 years considering a review of planning controls on the quarry, says it aims to make a decision at its Planning Committee meeting on 17 October.

Finally, we would like to say a huge thank you to Oxted residents Mr and Mrs Al Fayed who have very kindly funded the experts' work.