The Aldborough Hatch Defence Association Committee has agreed a Strategy to be followed now that Brett Tarmac have indicated that a planning application will be submitted later in 2016 for sand and gravel extraction on the fields bounded by Aldborough Road North, St. Peter’s Church and Close, Oaks Lane, the Central Line and Fairlop Waters Country Park. It should be remembered that this was first mooted eight years ago in 2008.

It is also worth restating some relevant facts (a number of which were revealed at the 2011 Exhibition) before setting out the Strategy.

When Brett Lafarge (as the company was then known) staged an exhibition and consultation in Aldborough Hatch in 2011, they told us that ground monitoring revealed exceptionally high levels of ammonia in the water, which had leached from the infill under the golf course (where gravel was excavated in the 1950s and 1960s and infill was household waste and not inert materials as these days). We were told that this water would be drained into Seven Kings Water, but with such a high level of ammonia, Brett Lafarge said that the water will be used within the confines of their operation, treated and purified before being discharged.

We were also told in 2011 that to prevent further leaching, part of the planning application will include the building of a bentonite wall on the west, north and east of the area. A bentonite wall comprises special clay and cement and would be poured into a trench dug as far as the clay beneath the sand and gravel. No indication as to the cost was given but we were advised that the cost would be deducted from the royalties paid to Redbridge Council.

The timetable for excavation was given in 2011 as six years with restoration possibly taking up to a further year beyond that.

We were advised that the planning application will provide for a stand-off of 100 metres from St. Peter’s Church and homes in St. Peter’s Close and Oaks Lane. We reminded Brett Lafarge that there are two precedents for 150 metre stand-offs – at Billet Road and Applegarth Drive/Bawdsey Avenue. We made it abundantly clear that we will fight for 150 metres – taking our fight to our Redbridge Councillors, Greater London Authority Member and Member of Parliament and expecting to receive their support and that of their political parties.

We were advised that Brett Lafarge expect to excavate 900,000 tonnes of gravel from the site, and that a roadway will be constructed to facilitate the removal of sand and gravel by lorry and the bringing in of inert infill. The roadway would run from half-way up Bridleway 93 (between Aldborough Hatch Farm and Fairlop Waters) on land to the south of the boundary with Fairlop Waters Country Park and parallel with this boundary – on land part of Aldborough Hatch Farm and the Aldborough Hall Equestrian Centre, to the conveyor north of Painters Road.

When the area to the west of Bridleway 93 (running from Aldborough Hatch Farm to Fairlop Waters) is excavated, that section of the Bridleway would be closed and diverted for at least two years.

Concern was expressed regarding the structures of St. Peter’s Church and the Chapel on Aldborough Hatch Farm (both Grade II Listed), St. Peter's Church Halls and Barns on Aldborough Hatch and Aldborough Hall Farms (Locally Listed). The change in the water table since gravel excavations started in the 1950s has seen ponds dry up and graves sinking. Lafarge offered to fund the commissioning of a baseline survey to be carried out by an independent expert consultant agreed by all parties but especially English Heritage.

That was all in 2011. We will be putting all these points to Brett Tarmac at the hastily convened Exhibition on 25th February which is being held at the Barkingside Football Club – outside the area where residents most affected live.



This draft strategy was approved at the AHDA Committee Meeting
on Friday 19th February 2016:

Enough is Enough – A strategy for the Aldborough Hatch Defence of salient points concerning potential sand and gravel extraction on Area E bounded by Aldborough Road North, St. Peter’s Church, St. Peter’s Close, Oaks Lane, The Central Line, Fairlop Waters and the Aldborough Hatch Equestrian Centre.

1. The potential for extraction on Area E is not new. As stated on page 2 of the Briefing paper – Sand and Gravel Extraction on Fairlop Plain dated January 2013, this was first mooted in the early 1960s and was largely the reason for the formation of the AHDA. At that time the extraction was to come down almost to the north hedge of St. Peter’s Church, but a 300 metre stand-off was finally agreed – with the northern line almost opposite the Dick Turpin.

2. So the depth of Area E is roughly 300 metres, but there is now a clear precedent for a stand-off from residential premises of 150 metres – at Billet Road and Applegarth Drive/Bawdsey Avenue. There can be no question that any planning application would have to include provision of a stand-off of 150 metres – anything less would be fought with vigour, with appeals to the national and local media, the Mayor of London, GLA Member and MP. No opportunity would be lost to hold Redbridge Council to account (and, if necessary, to ridicule) if anything less than 150 metres was proposed. It should be noted that in a paper dated 19th August 2014 headed Concerns about proposed gravel extraction in Aldborough Hatch, Wes Streeting MP wrote: “Earlier correspondence I had with the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association suggested that there should be an exclusion zone of at least 150 metres around the site, which seems reasonable to me.”

3. This now leaves the question of the financial viability of extraction on Area E with an area of 150 metres in depth maximum. Will there be sufficient revenue to LBR to make this worthwhile for both parties – LBR and Brett Tarmac (the latter being the new name of the extracting company)?

4. We know that a Bentonite Wall has to be constructed to hold back any seepage from earlier extraction and infilling. The cost will be borne by Brett Tarmac but deducted from the Royalties paid to LBR. The cost is presently unknown, but it is thought that such a wall would need to be constructed on the north, west and east sides, too.

5. Further, extracted sand and gravel will not be allowed to travel on public roads on lorries – precedent for this having been set many years ago, hence the positioning of the conveyor belt from Painters Road to the Quarry on Hainault Road, and the bridge over Hainault Road. A roadway would have to be constructed from Bridleway 94 (commencing halfway between Aldborough Hatch Farm and Fairlop Waters) running around the North of the Aldborough Hatch Equestrian Centre and linking with the conveyor belt in Painters Road. This will have to be fenced. There is a permissive footpath from Painters Road at the Equestrian Centre used by walkers, cyclists and, in particular, school children from the William Torbitt School and youth groups accessing the facilities of Fairlop Waters (and the lake in particular). The roadway would cross this and with lorries travelling along this at speed, it would be vital that some form of controlled crossing was installed or it will be an accident waiting to happen. The cost of the roadway and the controlled crossing, again, would be deducted from Royalties paid to LBR. The cost is presently unknown.

6. In addition, there is the dust pollution to be taken into account with lorries driving – often at speed – on what will almost certainly be an unmade dirt-track roadway. Depending on wind direction and force, such dust could blow onto Fairlop Waters (the golf course, used by residents and schools, the bridleways, the lake and fishing lakes) and onto the Equestrian Centre (used by residents, schools and children).

7. The 153 year-old building of the Grade II Listed St. Peter’s Church is a factor in all this. As stated on pages 8 and 9 of the Briefing Paper, the building was constructed without an effective damp course. A partial damp course was added in 1969 with a 20 year guarantee. Some 25 years ago, metal ties had to be installed to prevent the walls of the church moving inwards, which was almost certainly accounted for by movement of the water table. Again, on page 8 of the Briefing Paper reference is made to the views of a consultant at the Exhibition in 2011 that changes in the water table had affected the churchyard and extraction even closer than 300 metres would give concern regarding the building of the church.

8. The Aldborough Hatch Chapel is a further Grade II Listed Building that could be in danger if extraction takes place within 300 metres. In addition there are Locally Listed Barns on Aldborough Hatch and Aldborough House Farms.

Ron Jeffries

Further reading:
• Briefing - Sand and gravel extraction on Fairlop Plain
• Fairlop Quarry Map - June 2014 (Warning Very Large File!)