Death quarry fears rage on

SP73897 Bereaved couple Tracey Walker and Jason Clark.
SP73897 Bereaved couple Tracey Walker and Jason Clark.

THE FAMILY of a 15 year-old boy who drowned at a water-filled quarry has been devastated to learn plans to partially fill in the site have been turned down.

Ryan Walker, of Clay Cross, had been swimming at Ashover’s Fall Hill Quarry - known as the Blue Lagoon - when he drowned three years ago and his mother Tracey and her partner Jason Clark have been campaigning ever since for safety at the privately-owned site to be improved.

But Derbyshire County Council’s planning committee refused JC Balls’ planning application on August 29 to fill in part of the quarry on Hockley Lane to prevent flooding on the grounds work would have posed environmental harm and a countryside intrusion with dust and noise.

Jason said: “We’re absolutely disappointed. We want this quarry to be a safe place because there could be another accident and we will continue campaigning for better warning signs and fencing.”

However, the Fall Hill Landfill Action Group was pleased after opposing the plans with road safety fears about lorries, dust and noise.

FLAG chairman Keith Horner said: “The economic benefits didn’t outweigh the disruption and loss of amenities. Our offer to work with Tracey Walker to educate young people to the dangers posed by disused quarries remains.”

Chris Balls, of JC Balls, claimed the Highways Agency had no problem with its proposed lorry routes and argued councils were now being encouraged to adopt recycling instead of infilling. The application was considered primarily on infill and flooding and not quarry safety.