Controversial plans to extend quarry to within 125 metres of homes approved by councillors

Plans to extend a rock quarry in a rural part of Northumberland have been given the go-ahead by planners despite concerns from local residents and councillors.

An additional 2.7 million tonnes of whinstone will be extracted from the Divet Hill Quarry near Great Bavington over the next nine years, after members of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee waved through plans on Tuesday.

However, residents were concerned that the extension of the quarry – which is around nine miles north of Hexham – by an additional 15 hectares would have a significant detrimental impact on their amenity and on a nearby nature reserve.

Under the application, applicants Breedon Southern would be required to restore the site to agricultural grassland and nature conservation use after work is completed.

Divet Hill Quarry in Capheaton

Local resident Jane Pearson said: “This proposal is too close to our homes – it will be 125 metres from the nearest properties. Twenty-one local residents who currently live with the fallout from the quarry everyday ask that you reject this application.

“We are being asked to sacrifice our conservation area so the developer can have a slice of the pie. There are three inactive quarry sites within a few miles holding more than this site in reserves.”

Coun John Riddle, Bellingham ward, also spoke against the application.

He said: “The impact on the conservation area is very significant and there’s not a need for this quarry whatsoever. There’s so many nearby with for times what this quarry will produce.

“It is not needed – it is a business opportunity. It is all about profit and money. Residents have suffered a loss of amenity for years.

“I have had access to the site and you don’t have a true representation of the noise. I would urge you to defer this application and go and see for yourselves the issue for local people. It is just a bit too much.”

But the application’s agent, Jonathan Garbett, argued the quarry was “extremely well run” with an “excellent safety record.” He added that although there were other sites in the area, there were often issues surrounding access or land ownership which meant they were not viable, meaning the extra material was needed.

Members voted the application through by seven votes to four.