Uncertainty over River Ribble quarry scheme ‘putting lives on hold’

Posted on - 14th May, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, Redevelopment, South Ribble News
The River Ribble at Samlesbury

Uncertainty over a proposed sand and gravel quarry on the banks of the River Ribble is ‘putting people’s lives on hold’, local residents have claimed.

It is now three years since Harleyford Aggregates submitted plans to extract materials from the bend in the river at Lower Hall Farm, Samlesbury.

Initial plans prompted a backlash from the local community and other bodies, with the Environment Agency, Samlesbury and Cuerdale Parish Council and The Wildlife Trust, which owns Brockholes Nature Reserve on the opposite bank of the Ribble, all objecting to the scheme.

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With the proposals submitted in 2021, it took until October last year for Harleyford Aggregates to respond to a ‘Regulation 25’ letter from Lancashire County Council (LCC) which asked the company to address the concerns of consulted parties.

In its response, Harleyford Aggregates strongly rebutted claims relating to the scheme’s potential impact on local traffic levels, wildlife and ancient woodland.

Samlesbury resident Andrew Tufft, who is also a member of Samlesbury Quarry Protest group, said clarity was needed about when a decision would be made on the long running saga.

He said: “We do not have a clue what is going on and our questions are not being answered by either the county council or Harleyford Aggregates.

“The impact on people is huge. People’s lives are on hold because of this. Our concern is we do not know what is happening and we do not think it is acceptable that this is being dragged out.”

The proposed site would sit across from Brockholes Nature Reserve.

The site of the proposed quarry belongs to Booth Charities, a Salford-based organisation which owns a number of farms and hundreds of acres of land in the Samlesbury area.

One particularly contentious part of the planning proposal is the fact that the current road infrastructure from the river to the A59 is unsuitable for the amount of lorries which would be using the quarry.

It is claimed that 50 lorries a day would leave the site as more than three million tonnes of sand and gravel was removed over a 20 year period.

Therefore, it was proposed that a new access road be built which would head away from the river, through woodland and emerge higher up the A59 dual carriageway, close to the Roman Stone tile shop at the top of the hill.

“This would cross farmland, a public cycleway and go through ancient woodland on the way to the A59,” said Mr Tufft. “There are also biological heritage sites in the area which it would go through, as well as ecological buffer strips.”

Mr Tufft said the campaign group would continue to push LCC for answers and a timeline.

“We do not think it is fair to leave the community hanging like this,” he added.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: “We received some additional environmental information regarding this planning application in late 2023, covering a wide range of issues. We then carried out a consultation process which raised some concerns regarding the ecology and highways.

“We have recently held a number of discussions with the agent on these issues, and we understand the agent is now seeking to address them. When we have received the agent’s written response on
this, we will then be in a position to determine the planning application.”

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