A QUARRY firm has won its appeal to keep a lorry maintenance building, service road and a huge hardstanding area after building them without planning permission.

Last year, Armstrongs Aggregates Ltd was ordered by Bolton Council to demolish the ‘logistical hub’ for their Montcliffe and Pilkington quarries operation, close to George’s Lane, Horwich.

Company bosses said at the time the entire quarry operation and more than 200 jobs were at risk if they were forced to pull down the area.

Around three years ago, Armstrongs built offices, lorry maintenance sheds, a HGV parking area, a petrol pump and walls on land to the west of Makinson Lane, Horwich between Montcliffe and Pilkington quarries.

Last April, a meeting of Bolton’s planning committee heard the hardstanding area and buildings were constructed partially outside the permitted mining footprint, on green belt land known as Marden’s Farm.

They refused a retrospective planning application for the site and later issued enforcement notices ordering the firm to pull down the development.

At the meeting, Armstrongs representatives said the reason that the work was carried out without planning permission was due to ‘a mistake or misunderstanding’ on where the boundaries were for permitted development of the quarry site.

On June 30, Bolton Council issued an enforcement notice, which gave the firm 120 days to demolish the affected buildings and rip up the hardstanding.

Armstrongs appealed the enforcement notice and earlier this month, the Planning Inspectorate ruled in their favour, overturning the decision made by Bolton councillors.

In his published appeal decision, inspector John Braithwaite said: “The planning appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for addition of concrete area, HGV parking area, offices and extension to existing maintenance sheds at Pilkington Quarry. The enforcement notice is quashed.”

Mr Braithwaite added: “The works that have been carried out are not inappropriate development, do not compromise any of the purposes of including land in the green belt and do not materially affect the openness of the green belt.”

Prior to the original refusal of the retrospective planning applications for the site, Bolton Council received dozens of objections from residents who complained about the effect Armstrongs’ activities had on the area.

Cllr Richard Silvester, who represents the Horwich North East ward on Bolton Council, said he was bitterly disappointed with the appeal outcome.

He said: “I along with numerous residents in the local vicinity and beyond in Horwich objected to what had occurred. The Armstrongs site just seems to get bigger and bigger.

“Locally we refused the application however a planning inspector from the Government then comes along only to overturn that decision which is incredibly frustrating.

“I have received a number of e-mails from residents to say how upset they are.

“They are sick to the back teeth of what is going on with the amount of lorries, noise, dust and dirt on local roads as well as the road surface of George’s Lane being in an atrocious condition because of all of the heavy lorries using it.”