Lancashire County Council’s development control committee has given the go-ahead for Bradleys Sand Pit, on Lightfoot Green Lane, to carry on extracting material until the end of December 2029.
The Fulwood-based facility has been in operation for more than 30 years and was previously given a time extension of 12 years back in 2009.
Under that permission, it was due to cease work last December and would now been in the midst of two years of site restoration work which would have seen a nine-hole golf course, fishing lakes, stables and a plant nursery established on the plot.
However, papers presented to the committee reveal that there remains around 30,000 tonnes of sand to be quarried and 211,000 cubic meters of “void space” – created by the operation to date – left to be filled. A large part of the east of the site has already been restored.
Members were also told that “a change in commercial circumstances” meanty that the plan to create a golf course and associated facilities is no longer envisaged.
Previous nature conservation proposals will still be implemented, along with the provision of “leisure and recreational facilities for the surrounding population”. These will be the subject of a planning application nearer the time and, under the latest life extension for the quarry, must be completed by the end of December 2031.
The committee meeting heard that several residential developments had been built in the surrounding area in recent years, the nearest being an estate of 125 homes to the east of Lightfoot Green Lane, which is nearing completion.
Although the properties are separated from the quarry by the M55 motorway, Woodplumpton Parish Council said that residents who moved into the area in the belief that the
quarry would be fully restored by 2023 and would be frustrated by the time extension.
“Another eight years of noise and disturbance will be a disappointment – although, to date, there have been very few complaints about the immediate traffic, noise or dust,” the council said in a consultation response.
However, three letters of objection from the public were received and they did include concerns about HGV traffic on Lightfoot Green Lane – specifically, the speed that wagons reach when traveling along the route and an allegation that they set off not long after 6am Monday to Saturday .
Committee member Barrie Yates said that new residents would have been aware of the site’s existence before they moved in.
“If you bought a house round there, you know that there’s a quarry…and you know that there could be a possible extension [to its operation]as it would come up on your survey.
“It’s better extending this site for a while instead of opening another green field site to go and extract sand and gravel [from that],” County Cllr Yates added.
The heard meeting that national planning policy states that existing businesses “should not have unreasonable restrictions placed upon them as a result of development permitted after they were established”.
County Hall highways officials did not object to the extension, noting that there had been no associated accidents in the vicinity of the site over the last five years. They also said that the slow extraction of material meant that the operation had never hit the 130 HGV vehicle movements that it is allowed to make each weekday.
Committee member John Potter added that it was a “well-used road” by all kinds of traffic and was not “a tiny lane”.