Controversial four million tonne quarry set for approval
A controversial quarry, which would see 100 lorries going back and forth each day, looks set to be given planning permission – despite 'an unprecedented level of objection'.
Campaigners in Shipley have been battling against a bid from JPE Holdings to create a quarry, which would see more than four million tonnes of sand and gravel dug out from the site off Bridgnorth Road.
The company wants the quarry to replace its nearby Seisdon operation, which is due to close at the end of the year. The new quarry would be planned to operate for 14 years.
Despite a host of objections, including concerns over the access, the safety of drivers on the A454, the impact on the environment and local water sources and nearby homes and businesses, Shropshire Council planning officers are recommending the scheme is approved.
A decision will be taken by the authority's south planning committee on Tuesday and campaigners have reacted with dismay to the decision.
Phil Nicholls, a member of Shipley Preservation Society, said: "To be honest it is shocking, from start to finish.
"I am really disappointed with the attitude highways have taken. We are desperately disappointed because there will be 100 lorries a day on the road. It is crazy."
Shropshire Council planning officer Graham French said the application for the quarry, between Bridgnorth and Wolverhampton, had attracted 'an unprecedented level of objection'.
The plans have been opposed by Claverley, Worfield & Rudge, and Pattingham & Patshull parish councils, as well as the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.
In his report Mr French said that Wolverhampton-based JPE Holdings would be subject to a number of legal conditions as part of any planning approval.
They include putting in a wheel wash to stop lorries spreading mud and dirt on the A454, a new access road – including a right turn lane, overtaking restrictions, and new warning signs on both approaches to the junction.
In an objection Claverley Parish Council voiced concerns over road safety, and said the plans are not appropriate for the rural setting.
Its submission said: "The significant increase in traffic from the proposed development would exacerbate the safety risks along the A454 which is a very busy road. The proposed entrance to the site is close to the entrance to Naboths Vineyard which will pose a hazard.
"Councillors have already expressed concern that the proposal by JPE Holdings, if granted, will generate a very high number of vehicle movements per day. This alone gives rise to our belief that this road which is already heavily used and dangerous will have this danger factor intolerably amplified."
It added: "Claverley Parish Council considers this inappropriate development in the Green Belt. The proposed site has not been allocated as being a preferred site for the extraction of sand and gravel in Shropshire Council's SAMDev Plan and both Shropshire and Staffordshire Councils have sufficient sites to supply sand and gravel. No special circumstances have been put forward to justify approval and Claverley Parish Council considers this application should be refused."
However, in response the council said the increase in vehicles is acceptable.
Mr French's report states: "The proposals would change proportional flows on Bridgnorth Road by less than two per cent. This is less than the daily variation in traffic flows on the Bridgnorth Road so is not considered material, either proportionally or in absolute terms."
He added: Mr French added: “The site would be restored progressively to a combination of agricultural land, with nature conservation interest and enhanced habitat diversity including species rich grassland, acid grassland/heath mosaic and woodland.
“The amount of best and most versatile agricultural land would remain unchanged.”
New quarry is replacement for one closing this year
The site of a new proposed quarry in Shipley would be less than two miles away from Seisdon Quarry – which is due close at the end of the year.
JPE Holdings Ltd say the extraction of sand and gravel mineral from land off the Bridgnorth Road in Shipley will replace the existing operation near the village of Seisdon.
It says the quarrying operation is essential key to maintain local mineral supplies to key market areas in the West Midlands.
JPE Holdings LTD took over Seisdon Quarry in 2014, from the previous owner and operator Lafarge Tarmac, which operated the site as Tarmac for more than 20 years.
The quarry has operated in some form – originally as three separate quarries – since the late 1940s with levels of activity varying due to market demand. But it has meant a constant stream of lorries travelling to and from the site, on a rural Ebstree Road.
JPE Holdings LTD says the new proposal for Shipley is more suitable as traffic accessing it would use the A454 Bridgnorth Road, which is more suitable for heavy goods vehicles.