Worcestershire County Council’s planning committee narrowly rejected a plan to build a three million tonne sand and gravel quarry at Lea Castle Farm, off Wolverley Road.
The plan by NRS Aggregates would have seen 100,000 tonnes of sand and gravel extracted every year for the next decade at a ten-acre site around 900 metres away from Wolverley and less than a mile-and-a-half from Kidderminster town centre.
The decision was met with delighted cheers from residents and members of the Stop Lea Castle Farm Quarry action group, who had packed into the meeting at County Hall on Tuesday.
Representatives from the group, who were part of the more than the 2,000 objections put forward ahead of the meeting, asked how children and toddlers at nearby schools and nurseries could go outside when workers nearby would be wearing face masks and breathing apparatus.
The committee was divided, with some members calling for support, including planning chair Councillor Ian Hardiman, who represents the Cookley, Wolverley and Wribbenhall division where the quarry would have been built, saying the digging would be “only temporary”.
Committee vice chair Linda Robinson also threw her support behind the plan, saying the county needed new homes and it would be better if the materials to build them were obtained in the county rather than delivered from elsewhere.
However, several other councillors spoke against the plan, including Councillor Chris Rogers, who represents Stourport-on-Severn, who said he could not see how the quarry would bring any benefit to the local community or economy and that it should not be built near thousands of potential homes.
Councillor Marcus Hart, who represents the neighbouring Chaddesley division, said there were “concrete” reasons to reject the plan and he had “grave and profound concerns” about the green belt and the thousands of residents who live near the site.
Councillor David Ross, who represents Kidderminster’s St Barnabas division, said building a quarry would be “detrimental to the local population, children, environment and properties.”
By Local Democracy Reporter Christian Barnett