TOWN councillors have voted against plans for a quarrying firm to extend its operations on moorland close to Rivington Pike.

Armstrongs Aggregates Ltd, which operates Montcliffe Quarry, Georges Lane, Horwich have asked for permission for an extension of approximately 3.2 hectares on green land to the north west of the quarry.

This would release a further 2.75 million tonnes of gritstone and other aggregates and would result in an extra 25 HGV movements per day.

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The plans have already received 48 letters of objection from members of the public with Horwich Town Council now also objecting to the plans.

Horwich North East councillor, Richard Silvester, said before the meeting: “The application site is within green belt, the Winter Hill and Smithills Moor Site of Biological Importance and the Upland Moorland Hills Landscape Character Area and either within or adjacent to the newly created West Pennine Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest.

“I believe the application to extend the area of the quarry into open green belt land will not preserve the openness of the green belt as it will take away the existing openness of the land within the area proposed to be extracted.

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“The openness will be completely eradicated under the proposals as the land will literally be taken away because it will be extracted altogether.

“The proposals would conflict with the purposes of the West Pennine Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest to protect and enhance the wildlife importance of the area.

A Horwich and Blackrod First Independent’s spokesman, said Cllr David Grant had ensured the plans were referred back to the town council and this had prompted concerns to be clarified.

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He added: "Cllr Marie Brady stated should the planning committee be minded to approve the application then several mitigating constraints should be imposed to alleviate where possible some of the residents concerns. These include restricting vehicle movements through Horwich, a monitored speed camera to ensure speeds of vehicles are acceptable, and monitoring of the quarry’s traffic movements.”

Horwich Town Council is a consultee and Bolton Council are the ultimate decision makers. The plans are set to be voted on by Bolton planners on March 4.

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