Nelson quarry work can continue for five more years

Stone processing work at a Nelson quarry will be allowed to continue for another five years.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 4:02 pm
County Hall, Preston

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee has granted a time extension to operations at the Catlow East plant, off Southfield Lane, until the end of December 2026. The area will then have to be restored within the following two years.

A previous permission had required restoration by last December, but councillors were told that there is a sufficient supply of so-called “Catlow stone” from the neighbouring Catlow West quarry to generate processing activity for a further four-and-a-half years. Catlow East no longer extracts material and has already been partially restored.

However, a report to the committee stated that it would be “impractical to relocate all the stone processing equipment into the west side quarry”.

Three objections were received to the proposed time extension, with concerns raised over “increasing HGV traffic and speeding on narrow local roads”. It was also claimed that existing limits on HGV movements to and from the site were being exceeded.

Lancashire County Council principal planning officer Jonathan Haine said that the authority was “dealing with those issues”, which largely related to the Catlow West site and is subject to its own planning permission requiring works to to be completed and the plot to be restored by December 2028.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting, John Carlon, the agent for the application, said that the need to import materials for the long-term restoration of the sites had resulted in a “material change” in the number of vehicles travelling to and from them, up to the maximum allowed under the existing planning permission.

“When they’re moving stone out of the quarry, they might have about three or four wagons a week - and then all of a sudden we’ve got eight wagons going in every day and eight wagons going out. Material is being moved off housing sites in Blackburn and [across East Lancashire], so that moves on a campaign basis,” Mr Carlon explained.

However, he accepted that the operator had initially “inadvertently” misinterpreted the limit on vehicle movements - believing it to permit eight vehicles travelling to and from each of the eastern and western sites per day.

“It was a little bit ambiguous, but [the operator] soon realised the error...and it has been reduced back down to eight wagons in and eight wagons out [in total].”

The resultant products from the processing plant are used for dry stone walling, crazy paving and landscaping. Blocks are also cut into slabs for monumental stone, including lintels, cills and steps.