Agenda item


This application is for the proposed extraction of concreting aggregate from land at Watersplash Farm together with the erection of processing plant and associated mineral infrastructure, the provision of a new access from the Gaston Bridge Road/Green Lane roundabout, restoration involving the importation of inert restoration materials to agriculture, flood meadows, lake and reed beds with public access, on a site of 28 ha, and temporary diversion of public footpath 53 for the duration of operations.



An update sheet was tabled at the meeting and is attached as Annex 2 to the minutes.


Caroline Smith, Planning Development Manager

Stephen Jenkins, Deputy Planning Development Manager

Nancy El-Shatoury, Principal Lawyer

Mike Burch, Senior Flood Risk and Network Resilience Officer

Richard Thomas, Peter Brett Associates



Mr John Douglass, made representations in objection to the application. The following key points were made:

·        Chartered electrical engineer and a representative from the Shepperton against Watersplash Group.

·        EA originally objected to the application on various grounds and as a result Cemex withdrew and amended the application.

·        EA originally objected to proposals on flood risk grounds but following discussions with applicant the EA withdrew objections but planning officers failed to tell you why objections were with withdrawn. These were withdrawn because ground water flooding was not within the remit of the EA anymore and was now a responsibility of the lead flooding authority, Surrey County Council.

·        Anomalies in the planning officers report with serious consequences for water supply at Fordbridge Park.


Mr John Fennell, made representations in objection to the application. The following key points were made:

·        Explained that he was an engineer.

·        Planning officers conclusions mask flaws of a catastrophic flooding event in Shepperton.

·        Experts consultants used by the council have applied old government guidelines to predict flood events to approximately 1 in 30,000 years. Despite the site being in a EA flood zone 3A. We believe that a flood event could occur approximately 1 in 20 years using the most updated guidelines from government.

·        Believe there is a chance that low lying Shepperton could be flooded, which is 5ft below Watersplash farm.


Mr Derek Langridge, made representations in objection to the application. The following key points were made:

·        Manager at Fordbridge Park, a residential development with 35 homes for a retirement community. Many residents are elderly and will be adversely impacted if this application goes ahead. 

·        Have objected to the application on the following grounds; water supply pollution, flood risk, congestion, noise, air quality, pollution from dust and impact on quality of life for residents living at the Park.

·        The biggest concern relates to freshwater supply to the park which is obtained from an aquifer fed borehole which flows beneath Watersplash Farm and is the only drinking water supply and there is no alternative water supply available to the Park. Confirmed that a new mains water supply could not be obtained.

·        This aquifer fed borehole must remain and be regularly tested for possible contamination especially if the gravel is going to be extracted and filled with clay or other materials.


Mr Robin Sider, made representations in objection to the application. The following key points were made:

·        Explained that he was a resident and also a Shepperton Borough Councillor.

·        Local roads cannot cope with an increase in traffic this application will generate especially as 30,000 vehicles travel across Walton bridge onto Walton bridge road every day.

·        A number of HGVs are also travelling to the waste transfer station close to the application site. This will be six years of misery to local residents with traffic and noise issues. The traffic would be detrimental to air quality in the area.

·        283 objections to this application and also from Spelthorne Bough Council. Please defer the application for further investigation under current legislation.


Mr Mark Kelly, the Applicant, raised the following key points:

·        A great amount of information has been supplied alongside this application with preparation for the application starting in 2009. It has taken over 40 years to get to where we are today.

·        Permission will still be required from the EA before work can begin and if the application is approved a great amount of work will be required before commencement. The site will be supplying materials to Cemex concrete plants based in the UK.

·        No objections have been received from statutory consultees and the site will be providing wealth to the local economy and has been identified in the Surrey minerals plan.

·        The site is temporary and will be restored and enhanced. Extensive traffic modelling has been undertaken and there will a marginal increase in traffic along the A244. 


The Local Member, Richard Walsh registered to speak on the item and made the following points:


  • Raised concerns around the update to conditions 12 and 20 as included in the update sheet which was distributed before the start of the meeting. The Chairman explained that providing update sheets before the start of the meeting was common practice. 
  • Speaking on behalf of his residents and is fully supported by Cllr Tim Evans. Objectors speaking at today’s meeting have studied the application for the last 2 years.
  • Challenge application on basis of possible flooding of local area which has been demonstrated by previous flooding events of 2014.
  • Proposals would tip the balance of serious flooding in Shepperton. World’s climate is dramatically changing and the potential damage to residents is catastrophic. Quality of life for local residents is extremely impacted by this application and urges to refuse or defer application on the basis of impact to quality of life.  


Key points raised during the discussion:


  1. The report was introduced by the Deputy Planning Development Manager who gave an overview and history of the application site. It was explained that 1.2 million tonnes of gravel and sand would be extracted from the site over a six year period. It was further explained that it would take at least two years to get the s106 agreement completed and pre-commencement conditions discharged before commencement of the development.
  2. A Member of the committee queried what the implications of flooding would be on the site and the impact of backfilling clay and imported waste material on drainage on site. It was queried what the traffic management in place was and specifically the traffic movement numbers. It was further queried the archaeological elements of the pathway that goes through the site and if testing would take place on this. Reference was made to two planning applications that were refused in the 1950s and 1960s.
  3. The Deputy Planning Development Manager explained that perimeter swales would be used for surface water drainage. Modelling had been undertaken and further detail would be required in the form of surface water and groundwater management schemes which would require sign off by officers. Planners are satisfied there are necessary mitigation measures in place. The cumulative impact of HGV movements has been assessed and vehicle numbers are greater than 200 but HGV traffic numbers are at 200. Traffic movements to the Eco-Park have also been assessed in the road traffic assessment. Pollution matters will be controlled by the EA but the council has duplicate measures in place and conditions around contamination which will be closely monitored. All phases for noise have been assessed and conditions 16-18 cover noise requirements. An archaeology scheme will need to be submitted as part of a condition which will identify any archaeological elements on the site. With regards to why the applications had been turned down previously, it was commented that the Committee must deal with the application in front of them. 
  4. A Member of the Committee queried what the legal position was on the freshwater supply to the Fordbridge Park which was obtained from an aquifer adding that he was not concerned about the traffic to and from the site as the number was normal in comparison to similar sites.
  5. A Member of the Committee expressed the need for planning reasons to be used before any refusal or deferral is recommended. Paragraphs 68-69 include a summary of flooding evidence submitted by the relevant experts.
  6. The Chairman asked what work and research the Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA) had undertaken and what safeguards were in place for the aquifer and possible flooding incidents. The Senior Flood Risk and Network Resilience Officer explained that he did not initially assess the application which was approved by a colleague. It was felt that high level surface water was acceptable under the NPPF and non-statutory technical standards. The surface water flooding is what the council assessed and the proposal would be for a swale surrounding the site with the capacity of the proposed swales being over 3000 m3 and the requirement for surface water run off being 1800m3. There is a large difference in what is being proposed and what was actually required. The Senior Flood Risk and Network Resilience Officer was content with the proposals. Bespoke conditions had been set and additional information would be required if permission was granted.
  7. The Project Manager from Peter Brett Associates (PBA) explained that he had been involved with the site since 2012. With regards to groundwater, the applicant produced a groundwater model which was challenged and tested by PBA and at each stage of the process parameters were tweaked. It was explained that every parameter was chosen to be conservative as possible. On that basis, there was a predicted increase of groundwater level of 230mm on the north-west of the site. The Project Manager was satisfied modeling was good and based on mathematics. The predicted increase of groundwater level of 230mm on the north-west of the site was of concern and hence a recommendation has been imposed on groundwater monitoring. The Project Manager advised Surrey that he was content with the groundwater monitoring work. 
  8. It was stated that Surrey had recently declared a climate emergency and if this application could be deferred in light of this under current rules and regulations. It was explained that the application was in accordance with the development plan and there were no grounds to refuse.
  9. Another Member of the committee was concerned that 45 conditions had been listed in the report and was of the opinion that if flooding was to occur this would ruin people’s lives. Following this a committee Member stated that he was comforted that there were 45 conditions in place and would be concerned if there were any less.
  10. Concerns were raised in relation to the aquifer which supplied water to Fordbridge Park and how this would be dealt with going forward. The Deputy Planning Development Manager stated that pollution fell within the remit of the EA and controls were in place to monitor contamination, groundwater and surface water. It was explained that details of these schemes could come back to the Committee for consideration if the Local Member wished. The Project Manager added that placing clay in the aquifer had the potential to divert the water flow and water would need to find its way around the site which has been shown in the applicants modelling. The Project Manager believes the model is conservative and explained that PBA had suggested that a groundwater monitoring borehole should be placed on the site boundary nearest to the park. The Deputy Planning Development Manager explained that there is no requirement to provide an alternative water supply.
  11. There was a discussion if this application could be deferred on emerging policies. TheDeputy Planning Development Manager stated that the application was in accordance with the development plan.
  12. The Chairman explained that decisions made had to be based on planning decisions and asked Members if they had any planning reasons for deferring or refusing this application. A Member of the Committee stated that she was concerned that the water supply to the Park would be adversely effected by this application.
  13. The Planning Development Manager suggested that there was a potential to add a clause to the Section 106 agreement which would need to be agreed with the applicant but would read ‘for the applicant to provide an alternative water supply to the park in the event that it could be demonstrated that their activities had caused an impact to the quality of the drinking water’. The applicant whom attended the meeting agreed and accepted this clause by nodding their head from the public gallery.
  14. The Chairman moved the recommendation to permit the application subject to the amended conditions in the update sheet and the inclusion of an additional clause in the Section 106 agreement. There were five votes for, three votes against and two abstentions. Therefore the application was permitted.   




That planning application no. SP12/01487 is PERMITTED subject to conditions and informatives on pages 97-110 of the report including the amended conditions in the update sheet and subject to the prior completion of a section 106 legal agreement to secure: a) the long term landscape and ecological management, maintenance and aftercare of part of the land at Watersplash Farm; b) the long term monitoring of the groundwater and c) for the applicant to provide an alternative water supply to the park in the event that it could be demonstrated that their activities had caused an impact to the quality of the drinking water.


Supporting documents: