Frustrated residents living near a Warwick district quarry look set to face three more years of disruption after the owners called for extra time to restore the land to agricultural use.
Workings at Bubbenhall Quarry, in Weston Lane, were due to end in 2011 but were put back and mineral extraction finally stopped in 2015. Some of the site was then infilled but nearly half of the 14 hectares were left to accommodate waste silt and clay from another quarry’s materials which are processed at the site.
At this week’s regulatory committee of Warwickshire County Council, it was agreed to extend the time limit for depositing materials until May 2024 and for restoring the land to the end of December that year but only if operators Smiths Concrete were able to confirm to officers how much material would be needed and if they could demonstrate satisfactory evidence that the work could be carried out in that time.
Councillors heard from the chairman of Bubbenhall Parish Council, Cllr Darren Lucas, who said the village has been adversely affected by sand and gravel excavation since 1979.
He explained: “Over the last 30 years Bubbenhall has endured increased HGV traffic on the A445, mud on the road, great quantities of litter, noise, odours, the blockage of footpaths and, on one occasion, an explosion. The parish council regards it as unacceptable that once again the deadline to complete the work has not been met.
“The scarred landscape of the unrestored area is in full view from parts of the village. We urge you to grant a more limited extension to expedite the restoration of the remaining portion of the farmland and with it the tranquility of the landscape adjacent to the ancient Bubbenhall Wood.”
Cllr Peter Gilbert (Con, Bedworth West) was sympathetic to the residents. He said: “What I have drawn from this is that the people from the area that surround this have no reason to have any faith in deadlines, in conditions and timelines because they could be extended. We’re between a rock and a hard place but the crux of the matter is that this has gone on long enough.”
Cllr Jan Matecki (Con, Budbrooke and Bishop’s Tachbrook) added: “There is not enough information in here to make a decision. We need to know how big the hole is because there might be too much silt and we could close it in 12 months time. We don’t know what volumes we are talking about and until we have that we can’t really make a decision.”
Councillors approved a compromise - approval as long as the additional figures and information provided by the company do enough to address those concerns.