Oare pub quarry plan ditched by county council
CONTROVERSIAL plans to turn protected wetland at Oare Creek into a quarry have been ditched by the county council.
Brett Aggregates wanted to dig up two million tonnes of sand and gravel from Ham Farm and Hollowshore.
But KCC has left both locations off its short list of preferred sites.
The news was welcomed by Shipwright's Arms landlord Derek Cole, who feared his pub might have to close if the plans were given the green light.
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Mr Cole submitted a petition against the proposals with more than 3,000 names on it.
The plans' approval would have resulted in a quarry within 16 feet of the pub's beer garden.
Mr Cole said: "Bob Geldof, who is one of our regulars, was among those who objected.
"I am delighted this bit of the marshes has been saved. I am pleased from a business point of view but also because it has saved the area for ramblers and residents who enjoy this quiet and beautiful part of Faversham."
He added: "The planners were probably surprised by the huge amount of opposition they received."
The sites have special protection status as important wetland habitats. The marsh is also a site of special scientific interest.
The Ham Farm proposal was withdrawn when Brett's decided there was not enough gravel to make the project worthwhile.
It was still planning to open up Hollowshore for the next seven years until the county council stepped in.
Planning officers said sand and gravel extraction would destroy the site's special features and significantly disturb the birds.
But at a Faversham Town Council meeting on Monday, county councillor Tom Gates warned that quarrying could still take place at Hollowshore.
He said: "To say it is not a preferred option is not the same as saying it won't go ahead. If the council needs to fill its quota of sites we have to be a bit careful.
"This could come back. It rarely happens, but it does happen."