Pupils join fight against quarry plan

Some of the children opposing the expansion proposal.
Some of the children opposing the expansion proposal.

Schoolchildren have joined the fight against plans to expand a brick and clay quarry.

More than 300 pupils at Altofts Junior School have written objection letters campaigning against proposals to extend Rudd Quarry in Normanton.

They will be hand-delivered to Wakefield Council’s planning department, alongside an objection written by the school’s governing body.

Braithwaite Excavations is seeking planning permission to expand the quarry on green belt land off Newland Lane, moving it closer to Altofts village. It plans to quarry there for 14 years.

Assistant headteacher Fiona Blackstone said: “The view is that it will impact greatly on the learning environment of the children and staff, with the dust and the noise outdoors, and will affect their ability to concentrate.

“We spend a lot of time outside. We have quite a large playing field in the grounds and the quarry extension on the plan looks like it will come extremely close to that field border.”

The governing body fears that the plan could put people off sending their children to the school, and their objection also raises concerns about increased traffic and road safety.

The objections follow a public meeting attended by around 160 residents, and representatives of Normanton MP Yvette Cooper, last week. Ms Cooper said: “This application should be stopped. Quarrying has already caused dust, mud and traffic and people in Altofts have had to put up with flooding problems too. This extension is too close to residential areas.

“I’m gathering evidence to put to the planning committee and I hope that they will listen to the community’s very legitimate concerns and turn this planning application down.”

Nearly 350 objections have now been lodged against the plans, which state that around 50,000 tonnes of fireclay and brickshale will be extracted from the site each year.

Andrew Braithwaite, operations director at Braithwaite Excavations said: “The site won’t be going right up to houses, we won’t be taking any woodland or allotments out, the footpath will stay and the site will be put back to grassland.”

Planning documents say the development would be a continuation of the extraction at Rudd Quarry and the former Normanton Brickworks, which is “nearing depletion”.