Express & Star

Dudley quarry masterplan to go before council

Councillors are set to look at major restoration plans for a disused quarry in the Black Country which would include the development of 300 homes on the site.


A 30-year masterplan to transform the Edwin Richards Quarry in Rowley Regis was revealed in May, with environmental experts confident the plans offer a viable way forward for the site.

FCC Environment is leading the project to overhaul the quarry, which has lain dormant since 2004. Concerns have been raised about the future of the site if it is left as it is and the firm claims it is offering a 'realistic and deliverable restoration' of the land.

In a statement, FCC said: "The site as it stands presents health and safety management issues in terms of public access and has limited end-use to the wider public."

The 281 homes could be built on the southern edge of the quarry site by the beginning of the next decade, but the overall project to fill in the land would take up to 30 years.

It is hoped the gaping hole that is the quarry will eventually become open green space to be used by residents of the new homes.

The plans will come before Sandwell Council's planning committee for the first time tomorrow, but a decision on the development is not expected to be made at that meeting.

Councillors are instead expected to opt to make a visit to the 100,000 sq ft quarry before deciding whether to give the plans the go-ahead.

However, the grand plans face the possibility of hitting a snag after nearby residents and businesses lodged objections to the way the work to restore the site would be undertaken.

A huge waste management facility would be built on the site in order to manage the tens of thousands of tonnes of soil and other materials that would go into the ground each year.

Some 6,000 tons of materials would be driven to the site in lorries every week. A gas utilisation plant and a waste vehicle depot would also be built and the scale of the operation, and the prospect of unpleasant odours omitting from the development site, has made some people wary. Five objections have been lodged, relating to environmental issues and noise.

Rowley Regis councillor Chris Tranter said he supported the plans to develop the quarry, but raised concerns about the impact vehicles travelling to the site during the project would have.

He said: "We did have our fears allayed somewhat at the latest public consultation bit I have still got reservations. The amount of lorries coming to and from the site is going to have an effect on the surrounding neighbours."

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