Death quarry safety plan sparks row

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THE GRIEF-STRICKEN family of a boy who drowned at a water-filled quarry has been shocked to learn residents have launched a campaign to stop part of the site being filled in.

Tracey Walker’s 15-year-old son Ryan died in an accident while swimming at Fall Hill Quarry, pictured, off Hockley Lane, Ashover, and she had been pleased contractor JC Balls and Sons had applied for planning permission to fill part of the site.

But the Fall Hill Landfill Action Group outlined objections during Tuesday evening’s packed Ashover Parish Council meeting with residents’ concerns about an influx of lorries, road safety dangers, dust and noise.

Jason Clark, Tracey’s partner, said: “They’re not looking at this tragedy and how many others there might be if the site isn’t filled.

“Any inconvenience will be temporary but what we have gone through stays with us forever.

“We dread to think what it would be like if the quarry didn’t get filled and there was another tragedy.”

Ryan’s family, of Clay Cross, has been campaigning for the in-fill since the youngster’s death in May, 2009, and a public consultation has begun after JC Balls submitted its planning application to Derbyshire County Council to stop potential flooding.

But FLAG claims JC Balls will be moving 130,000 tonnes of material over two-and-a-half years during five-and-half days a week with 32 tonne lorries travelling along narrow roads in and around Ashover. It is also concerned about water drainage.

FLAG spokesman Keith Horner explained FLAG supports campaigns to reduce quarry deaths but is opposed to this scheme.

He said: “We recognise the pain and suffering Ms Walker, her family and friends have endured and are still enduring.”

But Mr Horner added: “Increased traffic through the village is a direct threat to the health and safety of all our community particularly the young and elderly.”

Residents also raised safety concerns about areas including Littlemoor, Woolley Moor, Hockley Lane, Mill Lane and Ashover Road.

The parish council said it felt the highways are not suitable for this development but recognised a responsibility to make the quarry safe.

Chris Balls, of JC Balls and Sons, said: “The lorries will not be coming in one big mass and there will be smaller ones and drivers will be instructed which roads to take and not to go into the village. We’re not here to do anyone harm.”