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Decision over restoration of Barrington Quarry deferred due to concern about train noise

By Josh Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter

The Barrington Quarry site. Map: Cambridgeshire County Council
The Barrington Quarry site. Map: Cambridgeshire County Council

Site could become grassland and woodland - but residents have told of 'excruciating' noise from railway line used by Cemex

A decision over plans to continue restoring Barrington Quarry has been deferred after residents told of “excruciating” noise from the trains carrying material to the site.

Cement supplier Cemex Materials Ltd will be asked if it can use newer, quieter trains after residents said the disturbance was so bad they may be forced to move.

The company applied to renew permission to continue transporting waste building materials by railway to fill in Barrington Quarry.

Permission, which was originally granted in 2011, expires in December.

On Thursday (September 6), Cambridgeshire County Council’s planning committee discussed plans to extend the scheme, which would enable the quarry to be completely filled in so that it could be “contoured” to look as it had done before quarrying began.

According to a report which went before the committee: “The current application proposes that the pre-quarrying contours would be reinstated and the land restored primarily to chalk downland with, amenity/meadow grassland, woodland and hedgerows.”

Residents, however, objected to the transportation of the waste material past their homes, with a railway to the quarry passing behind some residential houses.

Ray Kemp, of Barrington Parish Council, welcomed the detailed plans, but said the impact on residents needed to be considered.

Cllr Kemp said: “The impact of large trains going past people’s gardens is not just the noise, it is the bulk of the things. There is a smell and a certain vibration associated with it.”

One resident, whose garden backs onto the tracks, said the noise from the trains braking was “excruciating”.

The resident said: “The issue is we have to listen to this over a sustained period. It is overwhelming for us at the moment. There is excessive squealing from the brakes of the trains, and there are problems with them operating outside hours and excessive idling.”

Another resident said: “We don’t want to give up our family home, but unfortunately it may mean that if this planning application goes through. We may be forced to leave.”

Lib Dem councillor Sebastian Kindersley pointed out that the empty space in the quarry was worth “many millions of pounds” in contracts for people looking to dispose of waste.

Conservative Bill Hunt said newer, quieter trains could be used instead of the older, more polluting, models in order to make things better for people living in houses nearby.

The committee decided to defer the decision, with councillors saying there needed to be discussions about such trains could be used to lessen the impact on residents.

The application will come back before the committee at a later date.

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