THE firm running Uttoxeter Quarry has been accused of ‘sticking two fingers up’ to the town with proposals to nearly double the size of its operation.
Newbold Quarry, known coloquially as Uttoxeter Quarry, could be set to benefit from a Staffordshire County Council drive to ramp up mineral extraction in the enxt 15 years.
Aggregate Industries bosses are in talks at county and borough level to expand the 100-hectare Spath site by 87 hectares.
Homeowners living nearby have consistently complained about noise and heavy goods traffic eminating from the quarry.
They and Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths have expressed their anger about the pplanned expansion, which would add eight years to Newbold’s life.
Mr Griffiths said his constituents were also still unhappy Aggregate had appealed against a wind turbine proposal rejected by borough planners.
He said: “On the one hand, Aggregate Industries want the local community to accept an extension to the quarry, with further impact on the landscape and countryside and the disruption that goes with that.
“On the other, they want to put a huge wind turbine which will further that impact.
“They have no right to expect the community to accept their plans if they’re not going to accept the wishes of the community on the wind turbine.
“It’s a bit rich of Aggregate Industries to just expect people to accept years of additional disruption, noise and damage to the countryside while expanding their quarry.
“They have no consideration for the wishes of the local community opposing the dirty great wind turbine which will blight the landscape.
“The community has already spoken out against the turbine but Aggregate persists.
“It’s perfectly understandable if residents want to protest against the extension if that’s the attitude Aggregate takes.
“The reality is that Aggregate is sticking up two fingers to the wishes of the people of Uttoxeter.”
Gill Conroy, who lives at Leasowes Farm, in Bypass Road, has had to live neighbouring the quarry for years.
She said: “They should complete and landscape the mess they’ve already made before they start digging again.
“Sand dust is always a major issue and our view is restricted due to the bunds they built around us at the beginning.
“They should have been taken down by now but, because they have not landscaped on schedule, they have had to stay to keep the dust down.
“I’m sure the site will be picturesque when completed but when will that be?”
When all the minerals have been extracted from the quarry, it will be transformed into an outdoor activity area with a sailing lake and other leisure and sports facilities.
The site’s life was due to end in 2013 but Aggregates got planning approval to extend it until 2016.
And, if the new proposed expansion is ratified by Staffordshire County Council, excavation will continue up to 2024.
An Aggregate spokesman said: “As part of any new local minerals plan, industry and landowners are asked to promote potential sites for mineral extraction.
“If the extension was allocated and we obtained planning permission we would expect the life of the quarry to extend by around eight years, protecting both local employment and an important source of minerals to local businesses.
“This would in no way affect our recent proposals to restore the existing quarry by creating a sailing lake with walkways and cycle paths.
“The Government states minerals are essential to support sustainable economic growth and quality of life.
“It has said it’s important there’s a sufficient supply of material to provide infrastructure, buildings, energy and goods.
“We do our very best to mitigate the negative effects a quarry can have on local neighbours but hope residents can see the important economic benefit this quarry delivers to the local area.”