Planners approved Richmondshire quarry extension

Gatherley Moor Quarry. Photo: Mick Garratt.

A scheme to extend a Richmondshire sandstone quarry has been recommended for approval, despite concerns over noise, dust and and visual impact.

North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee will next week consider a 2.7ha extension to Gatherley Moor Quarry for the extraction of block sandstone in an agricultural field with a hedge and dry stone wall off the A66, between Gilling West and Melsonby, near Richmond.

Papers submitted to the authority state reserves at the site, which has been worked in five phases and is being progressively restored and planted with trees, are almost exhausted, but it is hoped to extract 50,000 tonnes of block sandstone over the next 20 years.

The quarry has been worked since 1788 and used in a number of prestigious buildings in the area, although historical records are few.

Since the reopening of the quarry by Block Stone in 2001, it has been used on many important projects such as Harrogate Royal Baths; Glasgow Cross; Richmond Bridge; Western Harbour in Leith; Several restoration projects in Bradford; Donaldson School for the Deaf redevelopment in Edinburgh and the Aston Martin factory at Gaydon.

A report to the committee states the site’s owner is looking to secure longer term future supplies of the scotch buff supplies at the site. The characteristics of the sandstone make the mineral a highly valuable component in the dimension stone market.

The block stone will be extracted using black powder explosives if required to split open existing planes to aid the extraction of the black stone.

Environmental health officers have concluded the proposal would have no significant adverse impact on noise or dust at the nearest residential properties, but the application has attracted claims that residents in the area would have to put up with the sound of scraping and dust covering properties for a further 20 years.

An objector stated the proposed development may have an impact on properties nearby and discourage businesses from using the offices and the residential amenity had been compromised by the existing quarry activities to an unacceptable degree that had caused anxiety and stress.