Row over quarry plan

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News

A NORTH East Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel hosted a meeting for those concerned about the road safety implications of plans to fill a quarry in Ashover where a teenager drowned.

Ryan Walker, 15, died in an accident while swimming at Fall Hill Quarry, off Hockley Lane, Ashover, and JC Balls and Sons have applied for planning permission to fill part of the site.

But Labour MP Ms Engel held a meeting at Ashover Parish Hall after learning campaign group Fall Hill Landfill Action Group is opposed to the plan because of concerns about an influx of lorries, road safety dangers, dust and noise.

She said: “This is an emotive issue because Ryan Walker sadly died but all those with concerns are approaching this matter sensitively.

“Listening at the meeting to Ryan’s friend Luke, who would like the quarry filled, left me choking but what came across is that this situation is not straight forward.

“People campaigning for the quarry not to be filled are concerned for similar safety reasons with plans including about 40 lorries a day using small roads.

“I was grateful to be kept fully aware of people’s concerns and to hear both sides’ concerns.”

Ryan’s mother Tracey Walker and her partner Jason Clark have welcomed plans to fill the quarry to prevent future drownings after Ryan’s death in May, 2009.

FLAG claims JC Balls will be moving 130,000 tonnes of material to fill part of the site over two-and-a-half years during five-and-a-half days a week posing traffic hazards, noise and dust along narrow country roads in and around Ashover.

JC Balls claims the lorries will not be coming in one big mass, there will be smaller ones and drivers will not go into the village and the company has stressed it does not want to do any harm.

A Derbyshire County Council officer explained planning application procedures and what can and cannot be considered in the council planning committee’s decision making process.

Ms Engel hopes to organise a meeting in January before the planning application is due to be considered. FLAG has also launched a website www.fallhillactiongroup.co.uk.