Bid to extend life of Northumberland's Longhoughton Quarry set for approval

A bid to extend the life of a north Northumberland quarry looks set to get the go-ahead next week.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 4:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 12:52 pm
The entrance to Longhoughton Quarry.

Northumberland Estates’ application for an extension to the extraction area at Longhoughton Quarry is recommended for approval at Tuesday’s (October 1) meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

The permission would see an additional 1.6 million tonnes of whinstone and 125,000 tonnes of limestone quarried and extend the life of the site to December 2029, with final restoration by December 2030.

The planning officer’s report explains that the quarry supplies aggregate at a rate of approximately 200,000 tonnes per year. Material from the site is mainly used in construction projects in Northumberland and Tyneside or for the production of coated roadstone at off-site asphalt plants.

The report notes: ‘The current planning permission extends until 2025, however, due to a buoyant market for products from the quarry the current reserves are likely to be exhausted by 2020.’

The proposal would return extraction to the previously-worked area known as the Fishing Lake on the eastern side of the entrance to the site, with the lake to be drained.

The site would then be worked in three phases over a period of nine years from 2020, extracting stone down to a depth of 30 metres and extending the void eastwards by about 90 metres.

The scheme has sparked four objections from residents, raising concerns such as noise, dust, vibration, environmental damage and the impact on the C80 Denwick to Boulmer road.

However, the planning officer concludes: ‘It is considered that while there may be some adverse impacts relating to the proposal, these do not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits in terms of continued supply of aggregate mineral, maintenance of employment and wider economic benefits and the restoration of the site.’

She adds that ‘careful consideration has been given to the potential impact on local amenity with matters such as noise, dust, visual impact, blasting and traffic impacts as well as wider environmental matters’ and that these issues will be ‘controlled through the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures and planning conditions’.

The permission would be subject to a section 106 legal agreement to secure biodiversity mitigation measures and works to widen the site access.

It will also be a requirement that the operator pays a single contribution and then annual maintenance payments for the extraordinary maintenance of the section of the C80 between Denwick and the site entrance, with the sums yet to be agreed.

In keeping with the current permission, the site would continue to operate between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays. Blasting would be restricted to between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

If approved, it would also stick to the existing permitted number of lorry movements: 60 in and 60 out Monday to Friday, 38 in 38 out on a Saturday, with a maximum average of 40 in and 40 out when measured over a five-and-a-half-day period over three months.

Longhoughton Parish Council has said it would ‘like to see a continued active partnership between the parish council, the operator and the developer/landowner in keeping the parishioners up to date and informed about all parts of the extraction process and the restoration’.