For the latest news about the BALI campaign and issues directly relating to:
- BALI Events
- the new BALI Membership scheme
- the House of Commons Visit,
- the Link Road,
- the Bexhill Cemetery Site,
- Campaign News and other matters,
please see the new BALI News Blog
Campaign Latest: 2013 AGM Report and Chairman's Newsletter April 2013
Read the report from the BALI AGM held on Monday 8th April with an update on the campaign and about dissolution of BALI.
Please also read the Chairman's Report about activity to the date of the AGM, the outcome of the ESCC Public Examination and words of thanks to the Committee, to BALI Members and all our supporters who, over the years, have helped BALI to meet it's main objective - 'To prevent the use of Ashdown Brickworks as a site for the disposal of waste'.
- Newsletter April 2013
- BALI AGM 2013 Chairmans Report
- BALI Thank You letter to Highwoods Golf Club from BALI Committee
Please note that, since the dissolution, the old Mobile Phone and PO box are no longer in use, but contact can still be made via email to email@example.com.
Campaign Latest: Notice of 2013 AGM
BALI Annual General Meeting to be held on Monday 8th April 2013
Dear BALI Member,
The 2013 BALI ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING will be held at Highwoods Golf Club on Monday 8th April at 6:30 P.M.
The three Authorities (East Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South Downs National Park) on 19th February, agreed to adopt the Waste & Minerals Plan, and as indicated in the January Newsletter it is proposed that BALI be dissolved under section 10 of our constitution, there is therefore only the one motion to be considered.
Please download the pdf format notification of AGM and Agenda.
Campaign Latest: January 2013 Newsletter
The Inspector's Report on The East Sussex Waste and Minerals Plan (ESCC WMP) is now published.
In previous newsletters, website updates and press releases, we have kept you abreast of the progress of the East Sussex Waste and Minerals Plan (ESCC WMP). The Public Examination, at which we were represented by Mr Geoff Smith of DMH Stallard, was completed at the end of September 2012 and we have now received a copy of the Inspector’s report that was published on 13th January 2013. Copies of the report are available by download from the ESCC website http://consult.eastsussex.gov.uk/ or to view in the usual places (local libraries, Council Offices etc, see the ESCC website for the full list). Our nearest is: Planning Department, Rother District Council, Town Hall, Bexhill (Contact: 01424 787600.) 8.30am – 4.30pm (Mo/Tu/Th/Fr), 9.30am – 4.30pm (Wed).
Now here is the good news: The Inspector's report concludes that the WMP provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the area over the next 15 years providing that a single main modification is made to the plan (Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development). The Plan now has to be considered by the three Authorities (East Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South Downs National Park), before formal adoption. The last of these meetings will be on 19th February 2013.
Of particular interest is that the Inspector agrees that the Plan makes adequate provision for land disposal of residual waste stating: 'There is very little existing capacity, and no suitable new sites, for landfill or landraise within the Plan area even to provide for the need for disposal of waste generated within the Plan area itself. There is no historical basis for the import of London waste for landfilling in East Sussex; neither the rail network nor the road network is suitable for transporting waste from London.'
The WMP concluded that, despite Ashdown Brickworks being allocated in the previous 2006 Waste Local Plan (WLP) for landfill, there is no real prospect for landfill at this site. The Inspector agrees that it would not be appropriate to save the Ashdown Brickworks allocation, or in any other way to include it as a contributory element to landfill provision during the Plan period. The omission is justified for several reasons, including:
- The current inadequacies of the surrounding road network to provide environmentally acceptable road access at a viable rate of fill.
- The assumption that proportions of waste requiring landfill post 2016 will be less due to an expectation of increased rates of recovery.
- The effect of the Government’s landfill tax, effectively raising the size threshold of landfill site viability.
- Landfill operations during the Plan period would depend upon the advanced extraction of clay in large quantities and its stockpiling within the site. The Inspector concludes that it has not been demonstrated how this could be achieved, or how the brickworks & landfill uses could coexist within the site.
Whilst BALI can be satisfied with this outcome, a slight note of caution arises from the Report’s comment 'Equally, it would be inappropriate for the Plan to introduce a policy absolutely to exclude the development of Ashdown Quarry as a landfill site, or to seek to prevent it coming forward if a need for the facility, sufficient on balance to outweigh harm could be demonstrated'.
In essence, the Ibstock site at Ashdown Brickworks in Turkey Road is not saved within the WMP as a potential landfill site!
This means that BALI has succeeded in its campaign to prevent Ashdown Brickworks from being identified for landfill use.
We, the committee, thank all of our members and others for their support throughout our lengthy (10 year) campaign.
It is therefore proposed that at the next AGM, BALI is dissolved under section 10 of our constitution.
The date for the AGM has been set as Monday 8th April 2013, and the relevant notifications and all necessary paperwork will be circulated to members at least 30 days before this date. In the future, should there be any move from a contractor to use the site for any activity except clay quarrying and brick making, they would need to comply with the ESCC WMP which contains very rigid guidelines regarding change of use.
Update: 29th August 2012
The East Sussex Waste and Minerals Plan (ESCC WMP) is now entering its final phase; the Public Examination to be conducted by the Planning Inspector, Susan Holland, at County Hall in Lewes between Tuesday 18th September 2012 and Friday 28th September 2012. BALI Chairman, Colin Bennett, reports the latest news.
In previous newsletters, website updates and press releases, we have kept you abreast of the progress of the East Sussex Waste and Minerals Plan (ESCC WMP); this is now entering its final phase.
The WMP was submitted to government at the end of May 2012, and has now reached its last hurdle, this being the Public Examination to be conducted by the Planning Inspector, Susan Holland, at County Hall in Lewes between Tuesday 18th September 2012 and Friday 28th September 2012.
After the Public Consultation during April 2012, the WMP that was submitted for inspection retained the statements:
'There is no realistic expectation that Ashdown Brickworks could provide capacity within the Plan period and consequently the location is not proposed as an Area of Search in the Plan.'
'As demand for landfill will be at a very low ebb by the 2020s, it is not proposed to save the site specific allocation in the Waste Local Plan at Ashdown Brickworks.'
As BALI expected there have been comments on the WMP from both Surrey County Council and Ibstock Group Ltd., and we know that these will be considered during the forthcoming Public Examination as the Inspector is expected to focus on the WASTE part of the Waste and Minerals Plan. It is therefore necessary for BALI to make a further submission to the Inspector highlighting the Environmental and Residential impact of any landfill development at Ashdown Brickworks and thus supporting ESCC in that the site should not be saved for landfill. This further submission has to be presented for the Inspector’s consideration by 28th August 2012.
We shall continue to employ our consultants, DMH Stallard, to prepare this submission and to attend the Public Examination on our behalf. This, as you will appreciate, will necessitate further spending from our funds for which we thank you all for your contributions that support our efforts to prevent Ashdown Brickworks from being used as a landfill site.
There is an additional piece of information of which we have only very recently been made aware, which is that the Sidley Community Primary School is to expand and move to the Bexhill High School site at Gunters Lane occupying the refurbished Year 7 block commencing in September 2012 i.e. next month. This expansion will eventually swell the number of children by an additional 500 and will raise the total number of children at the Gunters Lane site to over 2000. In our opinion no school should exist less than 1 km. from the boundary of a possible landfill at Ashdown Brickworks – our children should not be subjected to such health hazards. This additional and hitherto unused information will be included in our new submission.
When the Inspector's report is published at the end of December 2012, we hope that she will uphold the removal of Ashdown Brickworks from the WMP. This will then be the final chapter in our history and will enable us to relax after our 10-year campaign.
However, should the Inspector decide that for some reason Ashdown Brickworks will be retained as a possible future landfill site, then we understand that her decision is final and that there is no right to appeal. This decision would then leave the Ashdown Brickworks site open to any future planning application for use as a landfill.
Please view or download the pdf version of Chairman's August 2012 Newsletter.
Update: 31st July 2012
East Sussex County Council Waste and Minerals Plan Update
On 24th July 2012 on behalf of BALI, our consultant Geoff Smith of DMH Stallard attended the Pre-Hearing Meeting for the forthcoming Examination into the ESCC Waste and Minerals Plan. This was a meeting where the Planning Inspector, Susan Holland, set out timescales and procedures for the Examination. These were all minuted by the Programme Officer, Chris Banks, and will be circulated soon.
At the Meeting, an Agenda, and an Initial List of 'Main Matters' were circulated. These are attached below as PDF files for your information.
In advance of the formal minutes of the meeting, below are the key points of relevance to BALI:
- The Examination will start on Tuesday 18th September, and will continue until Friday 28th September
The Hearings will be held at County Hall, East Sussex County Council (Westfield House). The first day of the Examination may be held at Pelham House, St Andrew's Lane, Lewes (to be confirmed).
- The relevant days for BALI to be represented:
18th September - Opening of the Examination, and discussion on the overall waste strategy (including waste disposal).
19th September - Waste 'hierarchy', and detailed discussions on methods of waste disposal, and also restoration of minerals sites.
20th September - Technical and environmental constraints in the County.
21st September - Transport of waste and minerals - opportunities and constraints.
26th September - Ashdown Brickworks (to include a site visit if time allows - otherwise at a date to be agreed).
27th September - Pebsham Landfill.
28th September - Duty to co-operate between local authorities (new requirement)
Next week, the Inspector will circulate a detailed Programme for the Examination, based on the above summary of 'Main Matters'.
- In advance of the Examination, further Submissions will be requested by the Inspector on the 'Main Matters'.
Each Submission is to be a maximum of 3,000 words (plus photos etc as relevant). These are to be submitted by Tuesday 28th August, and we are advised that BALI should take this opportunity to reinforce the case for removing Ashdown Brickworks from the Plan as a landfill site for waste.
It is of particular relevance to note that submissions have been made to retain Ashdown Brickworks as a landfill site for waste by the following:
(1) Ibstock Group Limited (represented by environmental / planning consultants - MJCA, Atherstone);
(2) Surrey County Council (requesting the safeguarding of Ashdown Brickworks for landfill in the longer term)
- The next steps for BALI will be to:
- Prepare submissions on the 'Main Matters' (Item 2 above). These will be confirmed and further clarified by the Inspector next week. To be submitted by August 28th.
- Review relevant submissions by others between 28th August and the start of the Examination (18th September).
- Attend the Examination Hearings 18/19/20/21/26/27/28 September.
All of these three next steps are vital to ensure that the Inspector is fully aware of extent of the local opposition (and the extensive technical constraints) to landfill of waste at Ashdown Brickworks. Therefore, once we have received the Inspector's confirmation of the 'Main Issues' (next week), BALI will receive a fee estimate for each of the above three tasks, and must thereafter instruct our consultant DMH Stallard to prepare our representation.
As you can surmise, the costs for this next phase will be considerable, and although we have a reasonable bank balance it may not be sufficient for our needs.
When we have received and analysed the estimates we will be able to determine if further fund raising will be required.
7th February 2012
Bexhill Against Landfill and Incineration
The 2011 BALI Annual General Meeting was held at Highwoods Golf Club on Monday 30th January 2012.
Colin Bennett was elected as Acting Chairman - please view the Chairman's Speech (pdf format). This recaps activity throughout 2011 and also looks to the future, as BALI's campaign is not yet over.
Further details from the AGM will be published shortly so please check back for the latest information.
7th November 2011
GREAT NEWS! BUT IT’S NOT ALL OVER YET!
“Be vigilant!” BALI Consultant advises.
Did you see the headline in the Bexhill Observer on October 7th: 'Landfill Plan for Brickworks To Be Dumped'?
This refers to East Sussex County Council’s new draft WASTE AND MINERALS PLAN (WMP) which reflects that at last the Council has listened to the views of BALI, Rother District Council and the people of Bexhill and has ‘dropped’ from their new plan the proposal for a giant waste dump at Ashdown Brickworks, which would have such a disastrous effect on the local area.
The good news came first in a press release on 4th October from ESCC stating “we have reviewed the need for landfill at Ashdown Brickwork (which is already identified in the current Waste Local Plan) and found that there is no need to include it.' We believe this reflects the growing recycling of waste in the County and the recovery of the remainder by modern technologies (NB the ERF facility at Newhaven is now open).
The draft plan itself, which was approved the week following by the ESCC Cabinet, expands on ESCC’s reasons for not pursuing landfill at Ashdown as follows:
Firstly it states that 'no proposals have come forward'. Local authorities don’t create landfill sites; that is down to private waste contractors and the site-owners. We know that the Ashdown site owners Ibstock Brick Ltd and the waste contractor Cory Environmental Ltd had made an agreement to develop a landfill at Ashdown and had discussed this with ESCC, but clearly something must have gone wrong – or else they feared the wrath of the Bexhill public!
Secondly, the Council finally accepted BALI and Rother District Council’s submissions that development of the site for landfill depended on the completion of a new highway infrastructure in the area including not only the Hastings-Bexhill link road but the so-called Country Avenue (to Preston Hall Farm) and then various extensions of this road to reach the brickworks. All the latter, which are not even on the drawing-board, could not possibly be constructed within the period of the plan and the Link Road itself is currently subject to the government’s granting the necessary finance. We’ve been telling them this for ages!
We are convinced there are other reasons why Ashdown has been dropped as a potential landfill, particularly its closeness to the Highwoods SSSI, other local amenities, residences, the new Bexhill High School etc. but they are not going to state these reasons as this would admit they were wrong in the first place to include Ashdown in the ‘Waste Local Plan’. This latter plan is current law but, as they put it, “it is not proposed to save the site specific allocation of Ashdown Brickworks in the Waste Local Plan”.
BALI’s view is that finally it was the united opposition of BALI, the Council, our MP Greg Barker and the people of Bexhill that caused this change of heart. However, let’s give credit to East Sussex for changing their mind not only over landfill at Ashdown, but also the proposed landraise sites in the beautiful countryside of the Low Weald. The Waste and Minerals Plan, in fact, contains no plans for any landfill sites in the whole of the county. The Council are transforming their approach to waste, not only seeking greater reduction and recycling of waste but treating residual waste as a resource either for the material itself or for energy and heat.
Let’s give them every support!
So Why DO We Say It Isn't All Over?
Because so far the Waste and Minerals Plan is only a draft plan for consultation. This consultation has just started and continues until 8th December 2011: (for details see the ESCC website – ESCC Factsheet No 3 PDF
According to the results ESCC will prepare a ‘revised’ version of the plan for Government (more consultation again) in Spring/Summer 2012. There will then be a Public Examination of the Plan by an independent Inspector who may either approve it or reject it.
Why would anyone oppose the plan to reject Ashdown as a potential landfill site?’
We need to be aware that there are in fact people who will not like this plan and may challenge it, either in the consultation or in the courts. Such opposition may come from the following quarters:
- The site-owners (Ibstock Brick Ltd.) A landfill in one of the pits at Ashdown while Ibstock continue to excavate the other for clay would not only substantially increase the company’s profits but complete most of the restoration of the site that otherwise they would be obliged to do at their own expense.
- Waste contractors looking for landfill opportunities in the area.
- Many Hastings Councillors, including the Council Leader, oppose the plan and made their views known loudly clear at the Cabinet meeting to approve the draft (There are various reasons for this).
- County Councils in the South of England are concerned that ESCC will want to export their landfill waste to them, as they do currently and will almost certainly wish to continue and perhaps increase when the Pebsham landfill closes. They might question why they should accept such waste when ESCC had already identified a possible landfill site at Ashdown.
So What Will BALI Do?
Don’t misunderstand! BALI are celebrating the news but with sparkling wine, not champagne. We owe it to our supporters, to make sure the devilish Ashdown landfill proposal is well and truly buried and nailed down in its coffin! Our plans are therefore:
- To participate in the current consultation on the draft Waste and Minerals Plan to support it and in particular its rejection of Ashdown as a landfill site.
- Encourage other bodies (eg Rother District Council), groups and local residents to similarly respond in the consultation.
- Continue to instruct our legal planning consultants DMHS Stallard to represent us and the people of Bexhill until the plan has been completely approved.
- Oppose any planning application by Ibstock to create a landfill under the old (but still current) Waste Local Plan.
- Seek clarification of Ibstock’s future intentions regarding the site, specifically regarding how they intend to restore it to a public leisure amenity as required by their current mineral license.
If you have questions about the current position, please do not hesitate to contact BALI.
World's Smallest Dinosaur Found in Ashdown Brickworks
World’s smallest dinosaur found in Sussex
The Ashdown Maniraptoran, a foot-long, 7oz, dinosaur was uncovered at the site of the Ashdown Brickworks in Bexhill.
Experts have now declared it is the smallest non-avian dinosaur ever discovered.
Click on the image to enlarge the article.
Read a related article 'World's smallest dinosaur found in Sussex' on the Evening Argus website.
POSTPONEMENT NOTICE of the BALI AGM
The BALI AGM, set for Monday, 4th July has been postponed but is currently being re-scheduled. Please check back soon or follow our blog or twitter feed for details of the rescheduled date.
WANTED:- BALI need a Social Secretary or a team.
With the successful launch of our membership scheme (currently in excess of 250 members), we need someone to organise social events during the year. If you are willing to undertake this role then please contact Colin Bennett via email firstname.lastname@example.org or our Mobile No.07814 895874.
BALI Membership Scheme now live!
As promised, the BALI membership scheme is now launched!
You may have read that local MP Greg Barker was officially recruited as our first member, as reported in the Bexhill Observer on 31st Dcember 2010 (for details of the article please see our News Blog).
We are now looking to sign up 1,000 members from Bexhill and Rother. For only £5 (£3 for students) or £10 for companies or affiliated groups, sign up to be a member of BALI and help fight the landfill proposal.
Please Download a copy of the Membership Application formcomplete it and return it to BALI, PO Box 194, Bexhill on Sea TN40 9BD.
Thank you for your support.
Key Stakeholder Meeting
On Friday 29th October there gathered, in the august surroundings of the Council Chamber in Bexhill Town Hall, representatives of Bexhill and Rother residents, community groups and amenities, together with local councillors, to discuss with East Sussex County Council (ESCC)their plans for the future management of waste and how these might affect Bexhill. As you all know, Ashdown Brickworks in Turkey Road is being considered as a landfill site for the disposal of waste.
All the key ESCC decision-makers were present including Cllr. Matthew Lock, Lead Cabinet Member, Transport and Environment, Rupert Clubb, Director of Transport and Environment and Tony Cook, Head of Planning.
We were also pleased to welcome our MP, Greg Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change who took time out of his busy Westminster schedule to address the meeting on the government’s latest waste and planning policies.
Read the full report on our BALI news blog
Bexhill Achievers Recognition for BALI
BALI was nominated for the Environment Award at the Bexhill Achievers Ceremony on Friday 17th September.
BALI members were delighted to be presented with the Highly Commended Award. This was accepted by Nick Hollington on behalf of the group who felt it was a reward for 8 years of effort and dedication by the group in campaigning against the proposed landfill at Ashdown.
BALI were presented with a framed certificate which will be on display for the first time at the Town Forum on Tuesday 21st September.
BALI Announces new Membership Scheme
Register Now to become a Member of BALI!
We have decided to reorganize BALI as a broad-based membership association, open to all Rother residents. For a nominal subscription you will receive a quarterly newsletter and the right to vote on important matters at the AGM.
BALI's aim is simply to stop the landfill. We started our campaign in 2002 with a small group of residents. Through widespread public support, we have become a force with which to be reckoned.
To register for membership, please:
- email BALI email@example.com, stating your name, address, contact phone no. and email address, or if you would prefer,
- download and complete the final section of the registration form (pdf format), and send it to BALI, PO Box 194, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex TN40 9BD.
We will contact you with full details of our membership scheme and a full application form.
Please indicate if you would also be willing to play a more active part in our campaign, for example, serving on committees, researching, organizing or assisting canvassing or fundraising events.
Thank you for your support.
BALI Visit to House of Commons 11th June 2010
BALI demonstrated at Westminster sending a very firm message that landfill is not for Bexhill!
We gathered on Parliament Square to be photographed by both Meridian TV and others including some very interested passers by, and with the wonderful backdrop of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
BALI Chairman, Nick Hollington was interviewed by Meridian, and we were then joined by Greg Barker, our very supportive MP, who wasn't averse to holding a placard saying 'Don't dump on Bexhill'.
Please read the full report and campaign latest on the BALI Blog.
Bexhill Cemetery Will Expand Despite Threat of Landfill
On 18th March 2010, Rother District Council Planning Committee decided to grant a new planning application (RR/2010/1783R) to extend Bexhill Cemetery in St Mary’s Lane almost to the border of the Ashdown Brickworks.
Unless ESCC withdraws its renewed proposal to allocate Ashdown for waste landfill and site-owners Ibstock decline to proceed with their landfill planning application, mourners visiting their loved ones or attending their burial will be faced with all the horrors of a rotting dump within perhaps as little as 50 yards.
The approved application represents a renewal of the permission of change of use granted under a previous application (RR/2006/3294/3R) whereby RDC would compulsorily purchase a substantial (2.92 hectares) field of agricultural land to the west of the current cemetery. It is understood that proceedings in this respect are already underway and the purchase is hoped to be completed before next summer.
The renewed application, passed unanimously by the Committee, demonstrates the determination of the Council to proceed with its plan to extend the Cemetery despite the proposal for an Ashdown landfill. They are required to provide for the burial needs of the local population and the existing cemetery is almost at full capacity. The policy to extend the existing cemetery has long been designated in the Rother District Local Plan (Policy BX10).
When the previous application was submitted, Ibstock fiercely objected to it, and when passed, took their objections as far as a Judicial Review in the High Court. It argued that the cemetery expansion was unsuitable as the quarry had been earmarked as a landfill site by the Waste Local Plan and that it hoped to use the field in question for stockpiling clay in this event. Their barrister stated that cemetery uses would expect "tranquillity" and this would be disturbed by the ‘noise of heavy machinery’ from the brickworks/landfill site and the visual impact had also not been considered. After two attempts, however, their challenge was finally dismissed on 13.1. 09 with costs awarded to RDC. (See Bexhill Observer 23.01.09).
The present application can perhaps be seen as a further challenge to Ibstock, laying ‘facts on the ground’ to dissuade them from their landfill plans. RDC made its opposition clear to the inclusion of Ashdown as a landfill site in ESCC’s Preferred Strategy for Waste during the recent consultation. The necessary expansion confirms their and BALI’s view that a landfill at Ashdown would be simply too close to local residences and amenities such as the Cemetery, the new Bexhill High School, the Highwoods and the Highwoods Golf Club.
Councillors were asked yesterday to consider the “attendant expectation of a quiet and peaceful atmosphere” at the Cemetery. It is not at all clear how such an atmosphere would be possible if both brickmaking and landfilling were to take place there, and consequently an increased amount of (waste) traffic to the site, all within earshot of cemetery users.
Nick Hollington, Chairman of BALI, writes "There would likely also be the screeching of seagulls who gather over such sites and the smell of rotting rubbish. Burrowing rats and foxes are also attracted to waste and might also turn their attention to graves. The air would likely be polluted by dust and; given the steepness of the cemetery it is inconceivable that any screening could fully hide this monstrous carbuncle on the landscape.
"Bexhill residents deserve better than to be faced with such horrors at such sensitive often distressing times when they visit their departed loved ones and the loved ones deserve better than a ‘plot by a dump’. But it is for Ibstock to withdraw its pernicious landfill plans not for the Council to withdraw its legitimate and necessary plans for the extension of the cemetery! A landfill would in any case be too close to the existing cemetery. A landfill is simply not wanted in this location- a beautiful quiet cemetery is."
Ibstock, through its lawyers, again objected to the current application on the grounds of "incompatibility with its present and future (landfilling) operations", that it is inconsistent with RDC’s Local Plan and that it contained no details of landscaping, screening etc. They also again argued that it was "premature" in the light of the field’s “potential use for stockpiling clay”.
The High Court previously rejected all these arguments given that Ibstock had no ownership rights over the field, that there was no current planning permission for a landfill (therefore its planned "future operations" were purely speculative) and that the Council did not have to address at this stage issues such as landscaping and screening. (Inevitably there will need to be in due course a full planning application by RDC to address these issues and create a suitable “buffer zone” (hedging etc.) between the Cemetery and the Brickworks.)
Thus while, of course, it is open to Ibstock to appeal against the Planning Committee’s decision there must be some doubt about whether they will. It is rather hoped that they will rather reconsider their plans for a landfill in such a sensitive location.
Nick Hollington BALI 19.03.2010
Read the related article: Cemetery to expand to within yards of landfill site published in the Bexhill Observer, 1st April 2010.
Read more about Ashdown Brickworks Site: Jurassic Park?