Huge quarry to be created on farmland in North York Moors National Park

A plan to extract and process up to 90,000 tonnes of sand and gravel at a new quarry spanning the area of almost 30 football pitches within the setting of a national park has been recommended for approval.

W Clifford Watts Limited’s proposal to develop part of Raincliffe Grange Farm, off Main Street, Seamer, would also see the construction of a site access road, internal haul road, mobile processing plant, site office, soil storage bunds, lagoons, stockpile area.

The scheme is being considered by North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee on Tuesday partly because a small number of local residents have raised objections over the potential impact it could have on the landscape, the economy, traffic, vibration and noise in the area.

They have claimed the quarry would be intrusive, spoil the sensitive flat landscape of The Carrs and harm the approach to Seamer, Scarborough and Filey, from both road and rail, together with harming views from Staxton Hill.

Raincliffe Grange Farm, off Main Street, Seamer

One objector said the quarry would bring “no benefits for anyone in Seamer village”.

He said: “Seamer has improved ever since the A64 bypass and this could undermine business confidence investing in the village.”

Documents submitted with the application state the application for the arable farm envisages some 540,000 tonnes of sand and gravel would be extracted over an approximate nine-year period.

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The proposed development would require the removal and subsequent replacement of about 78,600m3 of topsoils and 60,000m3 of subsoils.

The site would be dewatered, then worked dry, by way of a long reach excavator, then transported by dumper truck to a new on-site processing plant.

The papers state the proposed quarry would be in the setting of the North York Moors National Park as it would be about three kilometres from the highly protected area.

It would also be in the setting of the Yorkshire Wolds Escarpment, an undesignated scenic and historic landscape character asset, which is a candidate to become a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In order to minimise heavy vehicle movements impacting on Seamer village, the applicant has stated the vast majority of trucks would be routed south onto the B1261 for 400 metres before joining the A64.

To mitigate the impact on residents it has been proposed the quarry’s working hours are limited to 6.30am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays and from 7am to noon on Saturdays.

However, an Environmental Statement lodged with the scheme concludes it would have significant impacts on the landscape where the character and appearance has, during the extraction operations, been assessed as having a substantial negative impact.

Nevertheless, after restoration, this assessment changes to moderate positive. The assessment also sets out there would be no significant impacts upon environmental and residents amenity interests, but recognises that there would be a loss of some locally-important archaeological resources.

However, recommending the scheme be approved, planning officers have concluded the impacts would be mitigated by extensive archaeological research including boreholes undertaken to understand the significance of the site during the time of Lake Pickering when the whole area was subject to lakeside colonisation.