Page 3: Goddard's quarry
In 1993, RMC Roadstone Ltd – Eastern sought permission to extend the existing quarry operation in a westerly direction. The quarry, which is situated in the Peak District National Park, already enjoyed an existing permission which if it were to be developed to its maximum permitted extent would yield an additional 4.5 million tonnes of limestone; this would sustain the quarry at the prevailing production level for a further 18 years. However, the company recognised that to develop the quarry within this existing permission would have significant adverse effects. The new application for the westerly extension was therefore designed to provide a similar output over the same timescale and thus sustain the quarry’s existence without the adverse effects shown below:-
- The quarrying operation would be concentrated in areas which were the subject of few planning conditions and which did not provide for meaningful landscaping or restoration.
- The quarry would become more prominent as wooded hillside slopes and an existing landscaped screen mound would have to be removed.
- Blasting would take place near to the village of Stoney Middleton.
- Increased activity at the quarry would be audible in the nearest residential area. Dust emissions would also increase.
- The removal of the existing processing plant and its replacement with a new arrangement, along with the deepening of the quarry would all add to costs of production.
In essence, the application for the westerly extension represented a straight swap i.e. the old permission (with its adverse effects) for a new permission. In addition, the scheme for the proposed extension incorporated a series of measures that would minimise the local environmental impact of the operations and would phase the development in order to effect restoration and landscaping works at the earliest opportunity. The extension would not increase the reserves and there would be no increase in the life of the quarry.
The aim, as expressed to the Planning Control Committee of the Peak Park Joint Planning Board, was to produce a restored area which complimented and mimicked the local landscape. Nearly 30,000 new trees and shrubs of 19 different species would be planted, providing an area of benefit to the local population and to create natural habitats.
The Planning Committee concluded that the environmental benefits constituted a sufficiently strong case to warrant an “exceptional case.” The removal of the possibility of working the slopes near the village and the restoration of the site provided grounds on which to allow the proposal to proceed.