The reopening of the Victorian career plan described as “diabolical”
Leaders from several communities have expressed concern over plans to reopen a quarry in a remote rural area that has been disused since 1895.
Stainton Quarry Ltd lodged a proposal in April with North Yorkshire County Council to extract 15,000 tonnes of sandstone a year from Gayles Quarry, near Ravensworth, and export blocks to the SQL stone-cutting plant at Stainton near Barnard Castle.
The company said it is committed to working alongside residents to ensure that mining activities and eventual restoration of the area are carried out with “the greatest respect for the local environment”.
Planning documents submitted by the company indicate that the council’s highways officers agreed the proposal was acceptable in principle and supported by national and local policies, subject to the introduction of mitigation measures.
However, Highways England said it could not support plans to move heavily laden lorries on the A66 near Ravensworth due to several serious and fatal collisions there in recent years.
In response, the company revised its proposed haul route, taking the quarry trucks up Sturdy House Lane, up the steep Barrack Bank slope, and through Richmond, passing secondary schools, from Skeeby to Scotch Corner , before going up the A66. .
North Richmondshire Councilor Angus Thompson said the strength of opposition among communities in parts of his division was immense, as the scheme aimed to place lorries weighing up to 40 tonnes along lanes designed to pack horses and carts when the quarry was last used.
He said the company’s plan to send 40 tonne lorries through Richmond out of school hours as a temporary measure until the A66 is turned into a dual carriageway was “absolutely diabolical”.
Richmond councilor Stuart Parsons said that although he was not consulted or informed of the proposals, the city council issued a hold objection to the project.
He said: “If any of them had a slight brake problem on Barrack Bank, they would continue to Frenchgate and destroy the Green Howards war memorial.
“One solution would be to delay the opening of the quarry until the A66 is fully lined.”
In a lengthy objection to the proposal, Ravensworth Parish Council said residents had “a level of disillusionment” with the ability of council planners to enforce planning permission constraints.
He said: “As a result, a recurring issue in much of the discussion around Stainton’s planning application is how the proposed limits for things like sound levels, weight limits, speed and number of traffic movements will be measured, monitored and enforced either by North Yorkshire County Council on Stainton Quarry Limited or by Stainton Quarry Limited on their haulage contractors.