Planning news and developments

This page will outline significant developments for which the County Council is planning authority. Please note that it will not include information or news about planning applications that are decided by the local Borough and District Councils, who handle matters relating to domestic and commercial planning.

Watersplash Farm mineral development (last updated 1 September 2023)

When was planning permission given?

Planning permission (reference SP12/01487) was granted by the Planning & Regulatory Committee in July 2019, subject to legal agreement, for the extraction of concreting aggregate (a mix of sand and gravel) from land at Watersplash Farm. To support this the permission also allows for the erection of processing plant and associated mineral infrastructure, the provision of a new access from the Gaston Bridge Road/Green Lane roundabout, and the temporary diversion of public footpath 53 for the duration of operations.

Permission was issued on 12 March 2020 following the completion of the legal agreement, with a condition that development must commence within five years of this date.

What limits and controls are there for this development?

This development was granted subject to 45 planning conditions. This includes conditions on time limits, hours of operation, dust, noise, traffic movements and phased delivery. There is also a Section 106 Legal Agreement to secure long-term landscape and ecological management, maintenance and aftercare of part of the land at Watersplash Farm, and the long-term monitoring of the groundwater.

Why is development only starting now?

Many of the conditions imposed on this planning permission required the developers to provide further details to us for approval prior to commencement of the development. These included details of a dust management plan, a construction scheme, an environmental management and monitoring plan, a lighting plan, and more.

What is currently happening on site?

Cemex is the site operator and they have begun to set up the site for mineral extraction. This includes:

  • Placement of the bridge over the River Ash.
  • Soil stripping to facilitate the erection of the boundary noise and visual bunds and the construction of the fresh water and silt lagoons on the eastern bank
  • Fencing of the existing public footpath.
  • Soil stripping on the western side of the site for the erection of the bunds and provisionally laying out the temporary footpath diversion with fencing.
  • The movement of ballast from the fresh water and silt lagoon areas to facilitate the surcharge of the plant area to bring it up over flood levels and the development of the two lagoons.
  • Building of a new access off the Gaston Bridge Road.
  • The building of a haul road from the Gaston Bridge Road to the plant site area.
  • The erection of the processing plant and welfare infrastructure.

The timeline for these activities is dependent on several variables, such as the weather, supply line issues, the Environment Agency, the section 278 agreement (highways work to connect to the roundabout), and the outcome of the public footpath inquiry.

Once the site is set up, Cemex's goal is to start sand and gravel extraction next summer (2024). This is when they aim to be extracting, processing, and moving mineral out of the site.

How long will the development last?

The site will be worked in four stages and progressively restored to agriculture, flood meadows, and lake and reed beds with public access. To restore the site, inert materials (e.g. soils, brick, rubble) shall be imported to fill the void space created by the mineral extraction.

The planning permission conditions state that extraction and transportation is until five years, and restoration of the site completed within six years, of the commencement date (24 July 2023).

How will the development be monitored?

We will undertake three formal site monitoring visits each year and any additional visits, as required, where concerns arise.

Cemex are required to keep records of all HGV movements and report them to us quarterly.

Where can I find more information?

How do I raise any concerns about the development?

You can contact us on where it will be forwarded to the enforcement and monitoring officers, as appropriate.

For issues of immediate concern the site manager is Bill Morris, who can contacted by email on