Work could carry on at a Calderdale quarry for another ten years, if plans are approved.
Mytholm Stone Sales Ltd has applied to Calderdale Council seeking permission to extend quarrying until 2030 at Mytholm Quarry, Sunny Bank Farm, Sunny Bank Lane, Southowram, and to retain its saw shed until completion and restoration by December 31, 2030.
But objectors to the proposals, being put before members of Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee next Tuesday, January 15 (2pm) at Halifax Town Hall, argue noise and dust from the site will increase, access to the site is poor, and it is in the green belt.
Councillors are being asked to consider the application because it would extend the working period significantly over the existing permission which was granted by the Planning Committee in 2010.
Objectors also claim conditions of the existing permission, which allows quarrying at the site until December 31 this year with restoration to be completed by October 2020, have not been adhered to.
Planning officers are recommending councillors approve the plans, prompting ward Coun Bob Metcalfe (Town) to express surprise at “brief comments” from the council’s highways section.
Coun Metcalfe said: “I strongly object on highway and road safety concerns, with the access for the site on a narrow single track lane which would see another ten years of large eight wheeler tippers bringing in stone for sawing and taking away the finished sawn stone products.
“This rural site is not suitable for an industrial type processing a saw shed primarily sawing stone imported to the site.
“In spite of conditions applying, this site has saw shed dust tipped and ongoing concerns with noise and running hours.
“The previous applications were time limited which I believed would have allowed for the remaining stone to be quarried and processed.
“It does appear that in fact only small quantities of stone has been quarried, with the bulk of stone brought to the site for sawing.
“Surely allowing this to continue in the Green Belt until 2030 is unacceptable,” he said.
The report to councillors says the quarry, which is off Sunny Bank Lane, Southowram, would continue operations as currently, in order to process the remaining 60,000 tonnes of resources it is estimated are left.
Hewn stone would be stored on the northern side of the site and is expected to produce 40,000 tonnes of building stone for the saw shed – when processed this would result in around 20,000 tonnes of finished building stone, including flags, sawn blocks, pavers, lintels, dry-stone walling stone, rockery stone and crazy paving from off-cuts.
Restoration proposals would see the quarry filled in to a level of 170 metres on the north west side, incorporating pasture with a mixture of trees, shrubs, grasses and other ground flora.
The report to councillors says extraction rates have been historically low at the site, and the 60,0000 remaining tonnes of material will include 20,000 tonnes of off-cuts being crushed and screened on site together with the “as raised” material.
Officers say that the National Planning Policy Framework the council adheres to recognises the small-scale nature and impact of building and roofing stone quarries and the need for a flexible approach to the duration of planning permissions reflecting the intermittent or low rate of working at many such sites.
The report says: “Stone raised has a number of uses and modern techniques allow for a larger proportion of stone to be used than has been the case in the past.
“It is considered that the extension of time would allow the sustainable use of a finite resource and appropriate restoration.”
Planners consider the application acceptable, subject to conditions which include limitations on the routes vehicles can take and on commercial vehicle numbers – not more than ten in each direction per working week – but councillors must decide.