THE controversial expansion of Harwood Quarry looks set to be given the go-ahead.

A decision will be made on the proposals to extend both the life and size of the shale and sandstone quarry in Brookfold Lane, Bradshaw, on Thursday.

A quarry has operated on the site for more than 100 years and the plans, submitted by waste management firm Booths Ventures, include a 2.32 hectare extension to the existing operation.

Also wanted is a time extension of 15 years to complete the extraction of shale, siltstone and sandstone, and importing inert and non-hazardous waste materials for infilling to allow restoration.

Bolton Council’s planning committee is recommended to delegate a decision on the quarry to the authority’s director of development and regeneration, Keith Davies, with a view to it being given the go- ahead once legal agreements have been reached for Booths to fund any road and gulley cleaning.

A report says the plans would not be inappropriate development of protected greenbelt land.

Matthew Booth, managing director of Booths Ventures, says the expansion plans are vital for the future of the business.

Businesses dependent on Booths Ventures have backed the plans, along with some residents in Brookfold Lane, near to the quarry.

Quarry bosses have said they will resurface the road and install other measures to minimise the impact.

A report to the council said 213 letters of support had been received, including 68 letters from businesses commercially linked with Booths. The rest are from “residents both nearby and from further afield a number of which appear to be employees or family members”.

A total of 74 letters of objection have been received.

Objections to the application centre on noise pollution, vibration, fumes and dust in the area, the creation of an eyesore and worries about the safety of children at a nearby school as HGVs pass.

Bradshaw Conservative councillor Walter Hall said: “I do feel sorry for the residents, they’ve had a lot to put up with. It’s gone on too long now and there’s too many wagons. They’re walking the dust into their houses and it’s on their cars.”

Objector Paul Horrocks, of Arthur Lane, Ainsworth, said: “The biggest issue is the huge lorries which rumble along the road.

You can almost feel your property shake when they’re approaching.

“This would be 15 years of misery with huge trucks on our doorstep."

THE boss of Booths Ventures insists the application to continue operations at Harwood Quarry is “both vital to the local landscape and the local economy”.

Operation ‘vital to landscape and local economy

Managing director Matthew Booth said: “We are continuing the work needed to clear up the waste left behind by the previous operators on the land in order for the site to meet current landfill regulations and to leave the land in a condition suitable for agricultural use and which fits in with the natural surroundings.

“Not completing the remediation and restoration work would leave not only a blot on the landscape, but a serious financial cost to Bolton Council when the land returns to its ownership.

“Also, Harwood Quarry is the only brick clay quarry in Greater Manchester, providing raw materials for making bricks which the local manufacturing industry and its employees depend on, as well as the jobs of the people we employ here.”

Mr Booth also stressed the number of trucks using the quarry should not change, so congestion should not increase.

He added: “In terms of controlling dust from lorries, we have a dust action plan in place — including the use of dust suppression sprays — to prevent any level of nuisance and covering HGVs with sheeting before they leave the site.

“We’ll also be installing the latest wheel washing facilities for vehicles, which includes high pressure water jets to remove mud from wheels as well as the cabs and undersides of trucks.

“We are aware that, if successful, the planning application will come with conditions designed to protect the environment and conditions for local residents.”