Plans to extend quarry for another 15 years put on show in Burgh Castle

Phil Parker, ecology and landscape expert, runs through the finer detail of plans to expand Welcome

Phil Parker, ecology and landscape expert, runs through the finer detail of plans to expand Welcome Pit at Burgh Castle with parish council chairman Trevor Greenacre. - Credit: Archant

Some 100 villagers saw for themselves the details of a scheme to extend the life of a quarry in Burgh Castle.

Folkes Plant and Aggregates wants to carry on extracting sand and gravel at Welcome Pit until 2036 and has earmarked a new 10 acre section where they say a further 300,000 tonnes can be removed.

The current permission runs out in 2020.

Site manager Kevin Lee said concerns centred on lorry movements and mud on the road but that the benefits outweighed any problems which were being addressed as part of the new plan.

Last week Mr Lee and a range of experts were on hand at Burgh Castle Village Hall to talk about the scheme.

The aim was to alleviate local concerns as the company bids to be included in Norfolk County Council's latest minerals plan and ultimately win planning consent for the extension.

Planning agent Stephen Daw said the quarry was keen to be a good neighbour.

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'People are all very interested,' he said. 'The only negative comments have been about a bit of noise to do with reverse bleeping and mud on the road. Generally people are fairly positive.'

Meanwhile Mark Allen of Create Consulting said that in terms of the day-to-day traffic it would be 'business as usual' but with improvements on Butt Lane and to the access.

He said the scheme would bring other benefits including better road markings, better visibility as well as a 30mph vehicle activated sign.

The site, which would grow to 38 acres, includes some permanent activity like skip hire and a recycling/concrete crushing plant.

The whole operation generates up to 80 vehicle movements a day, about 20pc of which are associated with the quarry, although not all are HGVs.

Trevor Greenacre, parish council chairman, said the information and level of engagement would be helpful to villagers who could make their views known over tea and cake.

Overall he said it looked like a good scheme but that he would wait until the next parish council meeting to gauge feedback. He suggested a cattle grid to shake off mud.

Restoration concept plans show lakeside chalets on reed-ringed peninsulas.

Pauline and Andrew Carter of Cement Cottages said that while they were close neighbours to the quarry they were not badly affected but were interested to see the plans.

The site employs 20 people and has been supplying sand and gravel within mainly a 20 mile radius since the 1950s. Under the extension there will be no increase in mineral production or vehicle movements.

Restoration of the current area will begin in 2020.