Objections to plans for huge sand and gravel extraction site in Chorley

Protestors have launched a campaign to stop a huge sand and gravel extraction pit next to the M61 in Chorley.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:17 am
Councillors Gordon and Margaret France and residents Lisa and Richard Curzon at the site of the proposed sand excavation site

Plans to take around 300,000 tonnes of sand and gravel out of the ground at Gale Moss - off the A674 Millennium Way at Whittle-le-Woods - have been submitted to Lancashire Council.

But objectors - including residents and councillors - are outraged over the major application for the near 20 acre site from Ruttle Plant Ltd.

Concerns include the creation noise, dust and traffic from an excavatiopn operation that would take between two and four years; with another two to four years of site restoration followed by five years of site after care.

The plans reveal there would be:

545 tonnes of mineral extraction per day to a depth of around four metres.

Operating 7am to 6pm a day; 7.30am to 1pm Saturdays.

An average of 30 HGVs a day, with a maximum of 50 movements a day.

The aim is to facilitate industrial development on the site as part of the redevelopment proposals for the Botany Bay masterplan site.

The site for the proposed open pit next to junction n8 of the M61 is made up of agricultural fields. A car boot sale also takes place there.

However, residents and councillors alike are fighting the plans which are out for consultation until March 9.

A joint statement from Chorley councillors Gordon and Margaret France, together with councillor Kim Snape, who is also a Lancashire county councillor for Chorley rural east, said: “This is one of the main gateways to Chorley and we are working closely with neighbouring councillors and local residents who boundary this site.

“This is one of the main gateways to Chorley and we are working closely with neighbouring councillors and local residents who boundary this site.

“Understandably there are concerns about noise, dust, traffic on top of the chaotic traffic situation already in this area, air quality, and the impacts this will have on the area alongside the proposed residential development that has been passed close by.

“This will create absolute chaos in this area.

“We will be conveying those views to Lancashire County Council.

“There is only a short time to get your comments in to Lancashire County Council before 9/3.”

Chorley’s three North East ward councillors, Adrian and Marion Lowe and Alistair Morwood, are also opposed to the application.

Councillor Adrian Lowe highlighted the HGV movements and noise and dust pollution and the ecological impact as areas of concern.

“Up to seven years this area is going to be blighted,” he said.

“The North West has got one of the higher asthma rates, the traffic is horrendous.”

He added: “I would urge anyone with any comments to put them in to Lancashire County Council.

“At the end of the day it’s strength of feeling.”

Furious residents Lisa and Richard Curzon live on Moss Lane opposite the proposed excavation site.

“We’re facing the land itself, there’s about five or six houses,” said NHS nurse Lisa, who supported concerns about traffic, noise and dust pollution and ecological impact.

“We’ve lived here three years. We had searches done and they didn’t come up with anything potentially affecting our property.

“It’s just not the ideal spot for an extraction site.

“We’ve had to put up with so much as a community with all the housing.”

As regards the traffic and health issues, she added: “Everybody going to school with their children, it’s terrible the traffic round here.

“The other thing that’s really upset me is they’ve not mentioned anywhere in the report the implications on health with the dust.”

Chorley-based Ruttle has commissioned consultants The Mineral Planning Group Limited (MPG) to support its application.

In a planning statement MPG explains that the site is ‘within a mineral safeguarding area and prior extraction should be carried out if a viable resource is proven’.

As regards noise issues, it states: “Due to the proximity to the major road network and lack of sensitive receptors, it is not anticipated that any noise generated by operations would have a significant impact.”

Regarding dust, its adds: “It is not anticipated that the site would generate significant quantities of dust, as with all mineral extraction sites.”