Uncertainty over future of controversial quarry proposal

Gayles Quarry, near Gayles. Photo: Mick Garratt.

A cloud of uncertainty is surrounding a controversial proposal to reopen a Victorian quarry off a remote unclassified lane to extract 225,000 tonnes of block sandstone over 15 years.

Community leaders said while Stainton Quarry Ltd had lodged a proposal in April last year with North Yorkshire County Council to resume operations at Gayles Quarry, near Ravensworth it remained unclear whether the proposal would become a reality.

The firm, which aims to export blocks to stone cutting plant at Stainton near Barnard Castle, sparked alarm among numerous residents over the scheme which would see blocks of stone transported by HGVs along rural lanes to the SQL stone cutting plant at Stainton, near Barnard Castle.

However, Stainton Quarry Ltd  has stated it is committed to working alongside residents to ensure the quarrying activities and eventual restoration of the area was carried out with “upmost consideration to the local environment”.

Planning documents submitted by the firm state the council’s highways officers had agreed the proposal was acceptable in principle and supported by national and local policies, subject to mitigation measures being introduced.

Nevertheless, National Highways has said the firm would not be allowed to route heavily loaded lorries onto the A66 near Ravensworth until a huge upgrade of the trunk road was completed, due to several serious and fatal collisions having taken place there in recent years.

In response, the firm revised its proposed transport route, taking the lorries from the quarry into Richmond, passing the secondary schools, through Skeeby to Scotch Corner, before travelling back up the A66.

Community leaders said by pushing HGVs from the quarry on a route through Richmond, identified traffic congestion issues at Scotch Corner would be exacerbated.

Concerns over the proposed HGV route have persisted over potential damage to a single track listed bridge with stone parapets the heavily laden trucks would pass over.

North Richmondshire councillor Angus Thompson, who has previously branded the proposal to direct HGVs through Richmond as “absolutely diabolical”, said planning officers were awaiting a concrete response over how the firm aimed to avoid damaging the heritage asset.

It is understood the potential cost, running into several hundred thousand pounds, of installing an alternative bridge, is being considered by the firm.

Richmond councillor Stuart Parsons said he had been expecting updates from council officers over the scheme, but none had been forthcoming since before Christmas.

Richmond councillor Stuart Parsons, who has previously called for the quarry’s opening to be delayed until the A66 upgrade is completed, said he was unaware of a solution to the transport issues surrounding the proposal.

Coun Parsons said: “If they grant permission those lorries have to go one way or the other. National Highways are not that keen and North Yorkshire’s Highways are not that keen on their rural network suddenly taking a pounding.”


  1. Ridiculous idea with no concern for local people and the environment. No doubt the quarry operator will promise to do everything to appease right up to the point where permission is granted and then flood the area with wagons and machinery. Big brown envelopes spring to mind!!!

  2. Making use of the Attractive Yorkshire Sandstone is good sense ,
    our ancestors would be proud to see the old quarries re-used.
    Figures of 225,000 tonnes,over 15 years. of block sandstone ,
    look ponderous, but average just 4 loads at 14 tones per working day.. Hardly worth all the fuss. We all enjoy seeing the gorgeous Yorkshire Stone in buildings restoration, statuary, carvings etc.

    • I’d be interested to know where you live. In this day and age replica sandstone can be made without a proposal such as this which will clearly increase risk on the road to road users and pedestrians plus decimation of local wildlife and beauty.

  3. I hope people read this article who live and appreciate the quality of life in the Richmondshire area. This Quarry scheme is not just an environmental disaster waiting to happen, it is a serious risk to life to motorists and pedestrians in every area of Richmondshire. The beneficiary is based in Barnard Castle, outside of the local county boundary, and quite frankly doesn’t give a “hoot” about the local people or ecology.
    Sad times if 40 tonnes of load loader start running out of the quiet countryside of Holmedale , crazy idea , and very selfish. Barrack Hill has it’s limitations , too steep. Left turn at the memorial just crazy. However as mad as this may sound, pulling out of a minor intersection onto the a66 where too many people suffer and die every week is complete lunacy, do the quarry merchants really care or want to understand, NO!!

  4. This is complete lunacy . I live in Gayles and the roads are already often perilous when large vehicles struggle to pass each other. Whichever way lorries are routed this will increase the danger to pedestrians and other road users. The wildlife will also suffer greatly. This plan needs rejecting immediately

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