Community leaders have expressed their interest in working with a quarry to gain a town asset after the site submitted a request to develop a 20-hectare northern extension. Tarmac Construction Ltd asked for a scoping opinion from Staffordshire County Council regarding their plans at Croxden Quarry on Freehay Road in Cheadle in July.
Community leaders have expressed their interest in working with a quarry to gain a town asset after the site submitted a request to develop a 20-hectare northern extension.
Tarmac Construction Ltd asked for a scoping opinion from Staffordshire County Council regarding their plans at Croxden Quarry on Freehay Road in Cheadle in July.
A ‘scoping opinion’ application is when an applicant asks the local planning authority for its opinion on what information needs to be included in the Environmental Statement when submitting a planning application.
In their scoping opinion application, Tarmac outlined that the proposed extension would see around six million tonnes of sand and gravel released.
Existing operations at the quarry, which has been active since 1946, are set to cease by November 2023. The extension would allow for ten more years of extraction at a work rate of 600,000 tonnes per annum.
In a letter to Cheadle Town Mayor councillor Sue Walley on October 22, Nick Atkins, Strategic Planning Manager at Tarmac, said the company is “seeking to submit a formal planning application to Staffordshire County Council by the end of this year.”
He added that, should this be successful, works for the northern extension would begin in 2023.
At a Cheadle Town Council meeting on Monday (November 1), cllr Walley told fellow councillors that Tarmac community consultant Lucy James had contacted her saying that Tarmac was willing to speak with the council regarding the plans.
During the meeting councillors put forward the idea of asking for the original section of the quarry to be used as an asset for the town.
Cllr Richard Alcock said: “When I was young, my grandad – who was a wheelwright and carpenter – used to take me round houses doing jobs.
“There was a row of cottages, small farms and single houses, I should think about 20 of them altogether in Freehay.
“Now we’ve got the biggest hole in England, if not in Europe.
“As far as I know, they have never given anything back to Freehay and it’s about time they did.
“Half of the village is gone. I propose we write to them and ask them what they are going to do.”
Cllr Gary Bentley added: “I want to know what they are going to do with the original site.
“Instead of something in 20 years, what are they going to do with it now?
“It’s a nice spot where people could cycle – it ticks every box.
“It wouldn’t take much to make it into a nice asset for the town.”
Later Cllr Bentley told the Times & Echo: “Me and councillor Alcock look forward to working with the quarry to see if we can make an asset for the town out of the former part of the quarry when they move on to the new site.”
At Monday’s meeting, Development Services Committee chair cllr Alan Thomas said he has concerns about the proximity of the extension to the B5032 road but agreed: “Let’s see if we as a town can get anything from it, and allow them to come here and answer our questions.”
Cllr Greg Powell said: “I agree with cllr Bentley. It’s a very big site and there’s no reason why they can’t start renovation on the site now.
“I think if we do forewarn them and say they are going to be asked that question (regarding an asset) then it gives them the opportunity to say what they want to do with the site and we can ask them about their long term plans.”
The council unanimously agreed to contact Lucy and send her a letter inviting the applicants to council to discuss proposals and a possible asset.
As part of its virtual public consultation, Tarmac is hosting two live webinars (which can be accessed at tarmac-croxden-quarry.virtualexhibition.info/exhibition.html) on Tuesday (November 9) and Wednesday, November 17, both from 6pm to 7pm.
During these sessions, residents will be able to discuss proposals and ask questions as well as be updated on the outcome of Tarmac’s “independent environmental assessments.”
Those who would like to attend need to register via its consultation website.
For separate discussions, people can contact Lucy on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 02036 176359. The window for public consultation regarding the plans ends of November 21.
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