Derelict areas within two former quarries are to be restored, and old permissions at Birchover Quarry replaced with a new updated permission, following decisions made by the Peak District National Park Authority’s planning committee.
Wildlife and the public will benefit from the re-shaping and landscaping of about 2.0 acres (0.81 hectares) of old workings, part of the Barton Hill and Dungeon quarries sites at Birchover.
The restoration will see heather moorland and native woodland habitats established within the Barton Hill site; and woodland with grassland glades within the Dungeon site. Some 340 trees will be planted including oak, hazel, holly, rowan and blackthorn.
Two new public footpaths will provide more walking opportunities for local people and visitors through these sites.
The restoration material will come from removing part of an unsightly quarry waste tip at nearby Birchover Quarry.
Birchover Quarry is noted for its distinctive pink gritstone which is used in public, private and historic buildings, particularly in the local area.
This quarry is currently worked under minister’s consents granted in 1952, valid until 2042. The Authority has renegotiated the site boundary and operating conditions of the old permissions.
The Authority’s planning committee has approved this new scheme until 2040. The quarry will be progressively restored until 2041.
In giving permission the Authority concluded there are exceptional circumstances in the public interest to justify the proposed development at Birchover Quarry.
The quarry company is giving up rights to work moorland close to the Stanton Moor Scheduled Monument, an area of great heritage, wildlife and recreational importance.
This approval means that the operations at Birchover Quarry will be modernised and all development controlled under one permission.
The new permission will allow around 500,000 tonnes of gritstone to be extracted, similar to the quantity under the old permissions but specifically for building stone.
The new permission will ensure the long term management of the site, updated standards of working and crucially restoration and landscaping which were not part of the original permission.
The restored Birchover Quarry will eventually provide a mosaic of different habitats including open heather moorland, woodland, trees and grassland.
Cllr Lesley Roberts, Peak District National Park Authority planning committee chair said: “Overall, we believe this development will bring significant long term conservation benefits and enhance the landscape.
“At the same time, the quarry directly employs 20 people, supplies quality building stone particularly for local projects, supports builders and other local businesses including hauliers, and so contributes to sustainable development.”