Controversial quarry is given green light

Controversial plans to build a quarry near Bridgnorth have been given the green light – despite campaigners’ fears over road safety and increased traffic.

More than 450 objectors backed a petition against the application by mineral company JPE Holdings Ltd to operate a 3.5 million-tonne sand and gravel pit on land near the busy A454 Bridgnorth Road, in Shipley.

But the scheme for the site near Gardenlands Garden Centre was given the thumbs up by Shropshire Council’s south planning committee at a meeting yesterday.

Residents in the area installed protest signs along the main road against the plans, which include phased extraction of sand and gravel, inclusive of mineral processing, all ancillary works, equipment and associated infrastructure and progressive land restoration.

The development attracted more than 90 comments from people objecting to the proposals which will see around 100 lorry movements a day.

Councillor Tina Woodward, for Alveley and Claverley, told the meeting: “I am concerned that so many issues remain.”

Conditions

She asked for the conditions to be strengthened.

JPE’s planning consultant David Hardy, of Squires Patton-Boggs, told the meeting the new quarry plan, which was devised to replace Seisdon Quarry, in Staffordshire, complied with planning and environment policies.

“Shipley would be a direct replacement for the nearby quarry at Seisdon which is scheduled to cease mineral export at the end of 2018,” he said.

“Longstanding representations show that as mineral reserves become exhausted in south west Staffordshire demand would likely extend in eastern Shropshire.

“This is now a strategic consideration.

“This site would provide minerals to serve the existing customer market of Seisdon Quarry,” Mr Hardy said.

Committee member, Councillor Madge Shineton, of the Cleobury Mortimer ward, told the meeting she was supporting the bid.

“We have to look at the wider economy,” she said. “We need the jobs in this county. I think we need to look to the future. We need some succession to supply and that needs to be in a small area to reduce traffic movement.

“We have got 49 conditions. I do not know what else can be put in place. We are talking about companies that actually make things as opposed to travelling in with a bag of sand.”

Following the meeting, disappointed campaigners said they will continue to fight the decision after the members voted six for and two against it, with one abstention.

Speaking afterwards Milly Dick, of Shipley Preservation Society, raised fears over the future of the ancient Cannebuff woodland site nearby.

She said: “We are being held to ransom by JPE. We are not going to stop the fight, that’s for sure.

Disappointed

“We are incredibly disappointed. The fact that they have focused solely on need for the materials, they have not touched on the archaeology and the potential loss of an important site. I think they said they will strip and record there, but that is not enough. It needs protection.”

Councillor Elaine Aldridge, of Rudge & Worfield Parish Council, who also addressed the meeting, added: “We are extremely disappointed. The road safety on the A454 is of primary concern. We do not think that it is being met by any of the conditions put forward.

“The hydrology issue has been ignored. If people lose water supply it is going to cause significant financial cost.”

JPE Holdings LTD took over Seisdon Quarry in 2014 from the previous owner and operator Lafarge Tarmac, which operated the site as Tarmac for more than 20 years.

The quarry has operated in some form – originally as three separate quarries – since the late 1940s with levels of activity varying due to market demand. Worfield & Rudge Parish Council strongly objected to the plans due to concerns about the safety of the road, the noise and dust pollution, and the restoration and landscape.

The county’s highways department stated it had no objection to the principle of the development proposed, but recommended proposed junction improvements on the A454 are agreed prior to consent being granted.

This is to ensure the development can be served by a safe and appropriate access for all vehicles.

Mr Hardy added that he was delighted with the committee’s decision.

“It was the right decision. There was a lot of balanced discussion,” he said.

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