Controversial quarry plans get the go-ahead
9:00am Friday 1st March 2013 in Local
CONTROVERSIAL plans to expand Harwood Quarry have been given the go-ahead.
Bolton Council’s planning committee approved a scheme by Booth Ventures for a 2.32-hectare extension and a 15-year time extension at a town hall meeting yesterday afternoon.
The plans also allow for inert and non-hazardous waste materials to be imported for infilling at the site to allow restoration.
The scheme had divided residents, with 218 letters of support and 194 against being submitted, but it had been recommended for approval at a meeting held last December. The decision was then deferred to allow opponents and the firm to iron out their differences.
Opponents claimed the expansion — which will see an extra 45 HGVs per day travelling to and from the site — would lead to increased noise pollution, vibration, fumes and dust, as well as the creation of an “eyesore”.
But the firm said it would address concerns by installing a wheel wash and ensuring all wagons were covered.
It also agreed to work with a residents’ liaison group and said the expansion was “vital to its survival”.
Speaking against the proposals, Bradshaw councillor Stuart Haslam said: “It is intolerable that lives should be subject to these problems for a further 15 years.”
Planning committee member Cllr Mudasir Dean said not enough had been done since December’s meeting to address opponents’ concerns He said: “I have seen first hand the effect this has had.
“During the summer I was invited by a family to see the mess in their garden.
“The levels of dust made it impossible for the family to sit in their garden — this is one of many examples.”
But Matthew Booth, owner of Booth Ventures, said refusal would put jobs at risk and drive up costs in the local construction industry.
He said: “It's crucial for our business. It's a key asset to Bolton and will play a key part in the future of our town.”
Approval was given subject to the signing of legal agreements.
Councillors asked for conditions imposed including limits on vehicle numbers and restrictions on wagons leaving the quarry at school opening and closing times.
Only four councillors out of 21 voted against the plan.
Cllr Nick Peel said: “It does fit with national policy. If we refuse it, it would be overturned on appeal.”