‘No’ to quarry expansion bid

MOVES to extend a quarry that divided opinion have been dashed by planners who rejected the controversial application.

Both supporters and protesters penned more than 100 letters about Blockstone Ltd, which was seeking permission from Peak District National Park Authority to extend its existing 14.5 acre New Pilhough Quarry, between Stanton in Peak and Stanton Lees, by a further 2.4 acres.

This would have enabled them to extract a further 146,970 tonnes of sandstone by 2022.

In a bid to push through approval, the company had even offered to end excavations at another quarry at Stanton Moor, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in the park with Bronze Age remains.

There had been 28 individual letters and 39 standard letters sent in support of the application, and 46 individual letters opposing it.

But it was decided there was not the justification to go against planning policies.

In particular, they were concerned that the amount of extra stone being proposed for extraction at the New Pilhough Quarry was too high and so it was not a fair exchange for the permission at Stanton Moor, where consultants believe the company could potentially quarry around 67,500 tonnes of stone.

Friends of the Peak District, Stanton in Peak Parish Council and local residents spoke against the application at Friday’s meeting saying they felt it was not an equal swap deal.

Chairman of the Peak District National Park Authority’s planning committee, John Herbert, said: “This has been a very difficult decision. On one hand we have Stanton Moor, which is one of the crown jewels of the Peak District National Park.

“We have a long standing commitment to do everything possible to prevent quarrying from ever happening there again and local communities strongly support that stance too.

“However, the area around New Pilhough Quarry is also an important environment and, on balance, we felt the exchange in quarrying permissions being offered by the company was not sufficient to justify going against our planning policies. Members were concerned that too much was being given away.”