I continue to oppose Cemex's plan for mineral extraction in Hamble.
The survey I ran on my website a few weeks had hundreds of responses and showed that 98% of people were opposed to mineral extraction in Hamble. The survey also highlighted the level concern people had for the impact that this quarry could have on congestion, air quality, noise and the loss of green space.
Since then, I have met with Cemex and outlined these concerns. Sadly, this meeting did little to reassure me that these concerns could properly managed or mitigated into a more acceptable proposal. Fundamentally, I believe Hamble just isn't suitable location for this type of mineral extraction. There also seemed to be a lack of willingness to consider other proposals like using the railway line to transport the minerals rather than using Hamble Lane.
Another key issue is the lack of consultation and engagement. Countless residents having contacted me about the inadequacy of the consultation exercise that Cemex carried and I completely agree that the consultation undertaken was not a serious attempt to engage or consult the community. There has not been a public exhibition with representatives from Cemex made available to talk about this plan. There have been no face-to-face meetings or public meetings for residents. Our Parish Councils have also felt that they have not had the opportunity to properly engage with these plans or represent their parishes concerns. I don't believe that this is good enough and that is why I am calling for a proper public meeting to allow residents and parish councils the opportunity to scrutinise these plans.
Given these issues, I have met with both the Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport at Hampshire County Council. It is important for Hampshire to not only recognise the planning issues posed by this application but also the limited efforts by Cemex to properly consult the community. The application will still need to go to Hampshire County Council for a decision and there will be a further consultation run by the Council when the application is formally submitted. I have also set out the key problems with the application and the solutions we would need to tackle these problems in a meaningful way. For example, significant investment would be required to make Hamble Lane capable of handling this sort of traffic and even then, I am not convinced Hamble Lane could cope with the additional traffic.
This afternoon, I also took the opportunity to raise these issues in Parliament which you can see from the clip above. I believe the Government needs to look at how communities are consulted on these types of planning applications to ensure we get applications that put the community first.