Huge countryside quarry project will last decades

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A LOOPHOLE dating back 60 years is to be used to allow quarrying across huge swathes of the countryside to the south-west of Grantham.

The Welby Estate plans to use two existing planning permissions - still valid from the 1950s - to quarry ironstone and Lincolnshire limestone for the production of aggregates and building stone.

A total of 2,000 acres is in the permission area on land south of Denton and Harlaxton and stretching along Gorse Lane, beyond Stroxton.

A report on the proposals - which describes the affected area as “land at Denton, Harlaxton, Wyville cum Hungerton, Great Ponton and Stroxton” - has been seen by the Journal and states that the purpose of the quarrying is to “exploit aggregates and, subject to suitability, as a source of building stone”.

The idea is to quarry building stone locally to be used for major Grantham developments such as the east/west bypass.

The report states: “Given that Grantham enjoys Growth Point status . . . material sourced from the Project Area will be well placed to meet that demand and will help minimise road haulage distances.”

The first area to be quarried - “Phase 1” - will be at the south-west tip of the permission area at the crossroads where Gorse Lane meets the Viking Way. It could be decades until all of the areas are quarried.

The scale of the work is shown in the report by the amount expected to be quarried per year - between 200,000 and 250,000 tonnes. Although the report states: “Higher production rates may however be achieved as markets develop and/or during periods of peak demand.”

The project has been delayed slightly as the Welby Estate is in disagreement with the county council about how the quarrying should proceed. The landowners wish to begin after carrying out an assessment on only “Phase 1” of the proposal while the county council wants assessments carried out for the entire 2,000 acres before any digging begins.

A decision will now be made by the Secretary of State.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire County Council said: “The Welby Estate is seeking the view of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the issues that will need to be covered in an Environmental Statement that would accompany an application to re-activate a dormant ironstone site.

“If such an application is made to the county council in due course it will be subject to publicity and consultation.”

The planning permission has no restrictions on the method of extracting the stone - leaving the possibility of blasting open.

The report states: “Although the use of explosives could possibly occasionally prove expedient, the applicants are prepared to forego this option.”

The Welby Estate declined to comment when approached by the Journal.