Shropshire Star comment: Planners must win our hearts
Quality of life matters. We live in an age where it is no longer acceptable for businesses to blight the lives of residents through careless or shoddy practices.
Industry has a responsibility to the public at large and must ensure it behaves cordially and respectfully at all times.
Such tensions are being tested in Shipley where residents are campaigning against plans for a new quarry. They are concerned that a 110-acre scheme off the A454 would have a devastating effect on their lives.
We ought to congratulate them for mobilising support and for ensuring their arguments have been presented coherently and with erudition.
Wildlife may lose out, the lives of ordinary, law-abiding citizens may be spoiled and the issue of road safety will loom large should the plans go ahead, campaigners fear.
Of course, quarrying is an important business and it is important to the UK at large that we are able to extract raw materials for use in industry. We do not want to become dependent on imports from overseas, as we have in other sectors.
It is important that we have a say in our own destiny and our ability to manage Britain’s infrastructure. Equally, businesses have a right to work for profitable gain and it is important that they are not regulated to the point of extinction.
However, the views of residents in this area of Shropshire must be taken into consideration. Their lives matter and industry must not ride roughshod.
When the matter is heard by planners later this month, they ought to put in place ample safeguards to ensure the voices of locals are heard.
Should the plans be approved, there must be a comprehensive Good Neighbours package, whereby the quarry operators adhere to the requirements of the Shipley Preservation Society and make sure lives are not adversely effected.
There must be plans in place to help restore wildlife in the fullness of time, to ensure make sure road safety does not become an issue and to operate at times that do not conflict with the normal lives of locals.
Business can live alongside residents when it adopts best practice and has a genuine determination to operate as a good neighbour. In the case of the planned sand and gravel pit at Shipley, That is the very least that locals might expect. It is up to local planners to hear the will of the people.