Quarry protest revs up

PUBLISHED: 13:42 24 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

Steve Ablett

Steve Ablett

THE next round of the David v Goliath fight over land that could be turned into a quarry has started. Protesters are adamant they will not give up their struggle to try and prevent a quarry being opened to the south of Broom near Biggleswade. Two weeks ag

THE next round of the David v Goliath fight over land that could be turned into a quarry has started.

Protesters are adamant they will not give up their struggle to try and prevent a quarry being opened to the south of Broom near Biggleswade.

Two weeks ago the giant aggregates company Tarmac handed in its planning application to Bedfordshire County Council to quarry for aggregates on a 432-acre site to the south of the picturesque village.

Now the small protest group which started when the quarry was first mooted earlier in the year will be getting into top gear in an attempt to persuade planners to kick out the plans.

Tarmac says it always expected opposition from local residents who had complained that the company had already quarried since 1997 to the north of the village on a site that is due to close in 2010.

The new site to the south of Broom would be prepared and opened immediately after the old site is closed.

But Steve Ablett, chairman of the protest group who lives in Broom, said this week: "We are no less determined now than we were back in May and were really pleased with the turn out at the last public meeting.

"We have very few funds so it is like a David v Goliath fight if you like because we cannot match the might of Tarmac. But we will try and put forward a genuine case for not having another quarry here.

"All we can do now is prepare our case thoroughly and carefully and outline the reasons why we are against this new site and just hope planners at the county council give us a fair hearing and listen to us.

"Support for our protest group has not waned at all and we are now glad planning has gone in.

"During the coming months we will formulate the best ways to fight this plan but we are certainly not going away. There will be a lot of work going on behind the scenes and we will be producing a newsletter and circulate it to other surrounding villages because it will affect everyone if the new quarry goes ahead."

On the www.stanfordbroomquarry.org website local MP Alistair Burt recently wrote: "I fully understand and sympathise over concerns over the prospect of new quarry workings in the area.

"I know you appreciate this comes from a straightforward demand from Government to supply some 1.93m tons of material per year until 2021. This is not a matter within the county's discretion. It must go out and find sites.

"The process will not be quick and I have recently spoken to Andrew Brown at the county council, the officer with the major responsibility for the process.

"He tells me that it is unlikely that the initial consultation will be finished by the end of the year, so he expects the announcement of preferred sites to begin next year.


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