Go-ahead for Shropshire quarry on unallocated green belt site

Plans have been approved for a quarry on an unallocated site in the Shropshire green belt despite the application generating what planners described as 'an unprecedented level of objection'.

The existing quarry at Seisdon (pic: Gordon Griffiths via Geograph)
The existing quarry at Seisdon (pic: Gordon Griffiths via Geograph)

Applicant JPE Holdings has secured full planning permission for the phased extraction of sand and gravel from a site in Shipley, which is unallocated in Shropshire Council's development plan. 

The proposed quarry, located around five kilometres south-west of Wolverhampton, would replace the applicant’s current quarry in nearby Seisdon, where a consent for mineral production is due to expire at the end of 2018.

JPE Holdings has proposed extracting around 3.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel from the Shipley site over 14 years, including a year of preparation and a two-year restoration period.

In their report on the applicatiion, officers advised that the planning application prompted more than 250 objection letters from the public and an online petition against the proposal that attracted 1,010 signatures.

"The application has generated an unprecedented level of objection correspondence," they wrote.

The report said objections were received from parish councils for Claverley, Worfield and Rudge, and Pattingham and Patshull on grounds including road safety, the site’s potential archeological significance, and damage to ancient woodland and wildlife.

Claverley Parish Council said it believed "both Shropshire and Staffordshire Councils have sufficient sites to supply sand and gravel" and that the proposal represented "inappropriate development in the green belt".

Countryside campaign group the Campaign to Protect Rural England also raised objections on similar grounds. However, statutory consultees the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England raised no objections.

Planners advised that the closure of the applicant’s existing quarry in Seisdon would result in demand being "displaced to quarries in eastern Shropshire" and that "there will be a need for ‘windfall’ sites as well as allocated and committed sites".

Officers also considered that the proposed site "is significantly better located to supply the company’s market on closure of Seisdon than the allocated sites in Shropshire".

They noted a requirement in the National Planning Policy Framework for mineral planning authorities "to ensure a steady and adequate supply of industrial minerals including permitted reserves of sand and gravel".

They advised that the proposal met all three tests set out in the authority’s development plan for unallocated mineral extraction sites: meeting an unmet need; not prejudicing development of allocated sites; and being significantly more acceptable overall than the allocated sites.

Officers concluded that the application complied with the council’s development plan and "as such, the proposals would not amount to inappropriate development in the green belt".

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