East Grinstead Society

Evergreen Farm Application – The Society’s View

The Society wishes to comment on WSCC/004/20, the Evergreen Farm Planning Application which replaces WSCC/061/19.

We had a series of objections to the earlier application and we are disappointed that few of them have been addressed.

Those comments may be summarised as follows:

  • There was insufficient evidence that the current leakages are dangerous. If they are then recapping will only delay the problem for future generations to resolve. Should not the removal of the contents of the site be considered?
  • The traffic proposals show a lack of knowledge of the area. There is no compelling evidence that the narrow roads in the area could support the increased traffic without severe disruption and increased air pollution. This will affect care homes, nursery and primary schools and residents in the immediate area and have a detrimental effect on local bus services and the thousands of visitors to the adjacent National Trust property, Standen House.
  • The sources of the capping materials are as yet unknown but inevitably they will come from some distance and will mean that the disruption will affect not only the immediate vicinity but the whole of East Grinstead.
  • The town already has major traffic problems: these would be significantly worsened by the scale of proposed lorry movements.

Let us now turn to the current planning application.

We are concerned at the references in the supporting documentation to the latest application to a health hazard but without any disclosure of the exact nature of this hazard. We note camping and other outdoor activities appear to be continuing at the premises. Whatever studies of the current situation have been undertaken there are no proposals for monitoring leachate and gas contamination during and after the works are undertaken. What will be the long term deleterious impact of the leachate and gas build up over the years? If this hazard is serious then would it not be better to clear the site completely and not leave it for future generations to resolve this legacy problem? Neither capping nor carting away would resolve the ground conditions problem for the farm’s equestrian activities.

In terms of traffic flow, when WSCC/061/19 was first proposed the National Trust had some major objections about the exact boundaries of the farm site and the proposal for the empty lorries exiting from Evergreen Farm via their drive onto the West Hoathly Road thus compromising visitor traffic to Standen House. These visitors would not expect 32 tonne lorries emerging immediately from their left as soon as they had left the West Hoathly Road and started their journey down the drive to the House. Have the objections of the National Trust to this scheme been resolved?

Traffic, of course, is a major consideration.

There are four aspects to this, locally within a two mile radius of the site and more distantly in the Town and its access roads.

  • Our objections to the previous application pointed out the unsuitability of Ship Street/Dunnings Road /West Hoathly Road and Saint Hill Road to carry the traffic envisaged. We are sure that others who live in the area will have pointed at the impact on schools, care homes, residential premises with their on road parking and the traffic going in and out to our adjacent villages and hamlets.
  • One glaring omission from the routing plans is the nature of Saint Hill Green. It is mentioned as the point where the empty 32 tonne trucks will turn right onto Saint Hill Road and return to the town. The Road Safety Audit incorporated in the application papers is very superficial. It stops at the Standen/West Hoathly Road junction and considers the journey no further. Saint Hill Green is an attractive little hamlet with listed buildings beside a small triangular green. Because of the angles at which the three roads meet and the topography of the surrounding countryside a right turn is difficult enough in a small private car let alone a large truck. We would query whether the practicality of using this junction has been tested on-site as this would surely show it not to be a reasonable option.
  • The sources of the capping materials are as unknown but inevitably they will come from some distance. This will inevitably mean that the disruption will not only affect the immediate locality of the site but the whole of East Grinstead, Traffic on the A22 and the A264 from north, south, east and west regularly clogs the town. The idea that the considerably increased lorry numbers would be able to deliver their loads at neatly prescribed intervals throughout the day is not realistic. The consequence would be that at certain times the Town would become a lorry park, particularly in the mornings and late afternoons with school and commuter traffic. This would conflict with the proposed site working hours leading to extended unauthorised working and local dissatisfaction.
  • There is a narrow bridge on Imberhorne Lane, We would query whether 32 tonne lorries could cross the bridge due to their width and weight, They would also impact negatively on the new traffic calming system further down the road.

Finally, we would argue that if the work is indeed necessary for pressing health and safety reasons and in the light of what we consider to be serious traffic issues there should be serious consideration of alternative removal options. These might include radical methods such as by helicopter or removal of the tip by rail to a deep landfill site rather than having a protracted work site which may be leaving a potential problem for future generations.