We are once again contacting you in a plea to help stop a potentially harmful development within the River Test catchment. This latest planning proposal has been brought to light to us by Rupert Wieloch who was instrumental in the campaigning against the Wheelabrator Incinerator that was proposed for a similar location. Below we have included Rupert’s full run down of the current proposal as well as the supporting documentation. We do hope that you can help us once again to protect the upper Test catchment.

Words by Rupert Wieloch:

Dear All,

Please forgive this slightly impersonal round robin, but I am seeking help with a planning proposal that has just been released on the HCC website to convert a field, classified under National Historic Landscape as Enclosed Agriculture, into a parking and storage area for 35 container-lorries, skip-trucks, cars and spare skips as part of an expansion of the Bryan Hirst metal crushing site.

The reason for writing to those involved in fishing, or watercress growing, on the River Dever is that the field sits in the Environment Ageny’s Source Protection Zone 1 above an important tributary source of the Dever, about 250 metres away, which in turn feeds straight into the fishing downstream at Bullington, Barton Stacey, Bransbury and Newton Stacey.  

A copy of the notice that was issued last week is attached (at bottom of post), together with the map of the site (that incorrectly shows the A303 as the A34) and a copy of the DEFRA Magic Map showing the affected SPZ1 area and SSSI at Bullington. The proposal, which can be found on the HCC website here https://planning.hants.gov.uk/Planning/Display/HCC/2021/0429# evades the main issues of the effect on the traffic congestion, safety on the road network and the damage to the environment.

There is a misleading ecological survey which fails to mention the fact that the field lies in the Government’s Source Protection Zone 1 (the highest category for protection against pollution and contamination), or that it sits above an important tributary of the River Dever about 250 metres away (photo attached) that flows through Barton Stacey to the River Test. The magic map shows the red zone marked clearly on both sides of the A303, together with the sluices and watercress beds in the location of the photo in Wonston parish and the SSSI sites in Bullington parish. Apart from the fishing and watercress/wasabi beds, these natural ponds also provide an important stopover for Canada geese and other migrating birds who visit each year.

The field to be turned into an industrial parking area slopes from the high ground in the north towards the south, which means that any run-off pollution from the metal, or diesel, or oils and contaminants from the vehicles that wash off in the rain will flow straight through the porous scalping into the chalk soil and find its way down the gradient into the tributary about 250 metres away.

I have to emphasise that the change of use to industry would set a precedent in this area, so that other fields along the A303 could be vulnerable in the future. This is Bryan Hirst’s third expansion since he acquired the Bullington Inn site and if this goes through it is unlikely to be the last. He has a track record of flouting planning rules and in 2017, had to apply for retrospective permission after he felled a belt of protective trees and built a 30 space car park on land that was not owned by him.

It is also important to mention that this application has bypassed the local Test Valley planning department and there has been no public consultation about the change of use from agriculture to industry, so every email to HCC registering an environmental objection before the deadline of 12 November is essential and will be highly valued by those trying to prevent the ruination of the countryside. I hope that some of you might feel strongly enough to support the cause and send a short email to [email protected] with the application references HCC/2021/0429 and 21/02950/CMAN Change of Use of Land from Agriculture to Parking and Storage Ancillary to the Bryan Hirst Recycling Centre on the Opposite Side of the A30. The public consultation deadline is 12 November and any representation must include your name and postal address (although these will not be published on the website).

I am writing separately to people who might be worried or affected by the road safety issues and impact on traffic congestion at Bullington Cross.

Many thanks,

Rupert Wieloch

Supporting documents: