Councillors delay Thornhill Lees quarry decision

EXCAVATION PLAN Fields in Thornhill Lees are set to be used for anew quarry which will eventually be turned into a nature reserve with fishing lakes.

EXCAVATION PLAN Fields in Thornhill Lees are set to be used for anew quarry which will eventually be turned into a nature reserve with fishing lakes.

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Councillors have delayed making a decision on a new quarry in Thornhill Lees which a businessman said the future of his company depended on.

Ravensthorpe firm Newlay Concrete Ltd wants to use land off Forge Lane to extract sand, gravel and ash over nine years.

The company’s owner, David Beaumont, spoke in support of his planning application at a meeting yesterday.

He said: “To reduce costs and safeguard 40 jobs it is essential that the company is able to source a local supply of sand and gravel.”

The firm then plans to turn the site into a nature reserve using imported waste to fill the land back up.

Application agent Chris Ballam told Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee: “The scheme will provide a significant improvement to the image of the locality for local people to walk alongside and enjoy.”

He added that only two people had made objections to the application – a small amount for a quarry.

It was recommended for approval by council officers, who wrote in a report: “Whilst this proposal would undoubtedly have an impact on the immediate locality, the effects would be limited and for a temporary period only.

“The restoration of the site would see a significant improvement in the visual interest of the area, considerably increase the range of habitats available to local wildlife and provide amenity benefits for the local community.”

But the committee deferred making a decision on the plan after councillors criticised the applicant for not offering any immediate benefits to the local community.

Chairman Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) said: “I think it’s unfair for some of the people who live round there and I think these developers need to put something back into their communities.”