Furious villagers accuse firm of blackmail over quarrying near Grantham
Villagers made their voices heard on Tuesday when they protested against plans for quarrying near their homes.
About 100 residents attended a meeting hosted by Mick George Ltd which gave a presentation on its plans to quarry 800,000 tonnes of limestone and ironstone a year from an area bounded by Denton, Harlaxton, Stroxton and Hungerton.
John Gough, planning director with Mick George Ltd, drew gasps from the audience when he said there would be 300 lorry movements a day along the A607 between a new junction to be built at the Denton crossroads and the A1.
Mick George Ltd is looking to quarry the area after it was refused permission to quarry a much smaller area off Gorse Lane. The company aims to reactivate old planning permissions for the area. In order to go ahead with these ROMPs (review of old mineral permissions) it will need to agree a number of conditions with Lincolnshire County Council but does not need any further planning permission.
Nigel Large, of Harlaxton, said: “It’s blackmail. It’s threats. I don’t like it. If you think we are going to lay down and let you do this without some protest, without you guys knowing about it, you have another thing coming.
Simon Embley said: “We are not going to be brow beaten. I am not going to take this lying down. This is mendacious nonsense.”
Debbie Nicholls, of Denton, said: “I use that crossroads four times a day and I have come very close even with the traffic that’s on it now. I find it really hard to believe that Lincolnshire Highways is happy with this. It’s probably the most dangerous stretch of road between Grantham and Melton, when you consider the number of people that have been killed from our village on either side of that crossroads.”
Mr Gough said he had come up with the original Gorse Lane plan. He said: “I came up with this alternative scheme to say we will give up all these planning permissionsto work this area and the mineral planning authority confirmed there was no environmental impact in terms of noise, traffic, nature conservation and they were perfectly happy that that was the case. That is the scheme we put forward and that is the environmetally accepted scheme that we promoted from the outset. That was refused and we made it perfectly clear to all and sundry that our fallback position was the ROMP.”
An appeal against the refusal of the smaller Gorse Lane plan will be heard in January. Mr Gough said it would be up to the board of Mick George to decide if it went ahead with the Gorse Lane plan if it won the appeal.
Planning Manager at Lincolnshire County Council, Neil McBride, said: “Mick George have made initial contact with our highways team to talk about their proposed highways improvements for the dormant site. However, they have not provided any of the detailed information that would be required for a decision to be taken on whether such improvements would be sufficient to mitigate any impact resulting from an increase in traffic. We understand Mick George are currently working on an environmental impact assessment, which would include a consideration of traffic issues. Highways would need to see that before they could give their full response to the proposals.”