Tuesday, June 27, 2017

News: Roadblock for Rotherham quarry reopening

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Plans to reopen a mothballed limestone quarry in Rotherham have been blocked after the planning board at Rotherham Council voted to refuse planning permission for the scheme - going against the recommendation of its planning officers.

Operators, Tarmac (previously Lafarge), has not used Harrycroft Quarry, which is in a Green Belt site between South Anston and Lindrick, for a number of years. It had previously operated with phased extraction and restoration (with imported inert materials) since original planning permission was granted in 1960.

Harrycroft still has permitted reserves of 2.55 million tonnes of limestone and plans recently went before the planning board that would have extended the time periods for extraction and restoration from December 31 2018 to 2031 for extraction, and to 2033 for restoration.

The board heard how limited extraction and sales have taken place at Harrycroft since 2010 due to the economic recession reducing demand for construction materials. A gradual increase in demand in the region means that the already permitted mineral is now needed to assist in meeting product orders.

Despite the site previously being in use and permission already existing, members of the planning board raised traffic issues with the variations around the access and usage of the busy A57. Concerns were also raised about noise and blasting on the site and the proximity to houses and a nearby cemetery.

A number of objections to the plans were received, including from Anston Parish Council. A petition objecting to the application has been signed by 120 people.

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The applicants stated that limestone production levels will remain at up to 300,000 tonnes a year, and inert infill material will continue to be used in the progressive restoration of the quarry floor. Nearly 700,000 cubic metres of material is required to achieve the final restoration scheme. Recycling operations on site would continue within the 25,000 tonnes per annum limit.

Traffic generation from the site operations are expected to average eight haulage vehicle movements per hour, up to a maximum of 13 movements per hour.

Following public consultation, the operators have agreed to restricted working hours that include no blast working certain days, and for a new route for a Public Right of Way.

The agent on behalf of the operator's proposal said: "The application does not seek to extend the boundaries of the operation but the length of time of the operation and restoration. We believe that the planning conditions can control the noise and dust and potential blasting impacts.

"The applicant is agreeing to maintain certain HGV routing restrictions that are in place with improvements to the access and signage."

The Council requested that the applicant commit £10,130 to replace signs around the site on the A57.
Ian Ferguson, senior highway development control officer at Rotherham Council, explained that surveys had shown a significant reduction in HGVs using the A57 between 2008 and 2015 and that the speed limit had been reduced in the area to 50mph. He added: "Although the site access might not have been used in recent years by lorries, it is a long established quarry. We are aware from the days when it was fully operational as to the traffic impact of turning lorries - we didn't see an issue in those days and we don't envisage a problem should the quarry be reopened.

"The A57 is a busy road, it is a principal road, its function is to move vehicles including HGVs - nearly 1,500 in 2015. To refuse this permission, you'll need to demonstrate that the impact of these additional [HGVs] four in, four out per hour, is going to be severe. In terms of the number of HGVs already on the network, it'll be less than 5% [increase]."

Having heard representations and clarification from officers, the board voted eight to four to refuse the plans. The board was minded to refuse the plans on the basis that "current highways conditions are not adequate for this site at the present time."

Previous plans for the quarry were refused by the Council's planning board and overturned on appeal.

The planning board recently went against officer's recommendation when it approved The Green Group's plans that could create hundreds of jobs on a former brickworks, which is in the Green Belt.

Images: Trent and Peak Archaeology / Google Maps


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