Rudd Quarry in Normanton fails in extension plans after Altofts Junior School pupils object

Campaigners demonstrate outside County Hall.
Campaigners demonstrate outside County Hall.

Campaigners are celebrating after they helped block plans for a quarry to expand and move its operations closer to a primary school.

Hundreds of people in Normanton and Altofts were desperate for Rudd Quarry not to extend their operations onto green belt land on Newland Lane, as they claimed it would increase noise and traffic to intolerable levels.

Land on which the quarry's owners hoped to use.

Land on which the quarry's owners hoped to use.

The quarry's owners, Braithwaite Excavations, denied this and said that the move was vital for the building industry as it mines brick clay. The firm has operated at its current base since 1983.

But after nearly 300 objections from worried pupils at Altofts Junior School and interventions from Yvette Cooper MP and Wakefield Council leader Peter Box, the plans were rejected.

A letter from Ms Cooper, which was read out at a planning committee judging the application, said: "Noise, dust and the risk to air quality would make it harder for pupils and teachers to concentrate in school during such a vital stage in their development.

"I have been told that over 15 children who attend Altofts Primary School suffer with asthma, and one child who has a life-limiting respiratory illness which would be aggravated by the additional dust created by the extension of Rudd Quarry.

Pupils at Altofts Junior School were worried about the plans.

Pupils at Altofts Junior School were worried about the plans.

"It is also clear that the roads in their current state are not adequately equipped to deal with the heavy traffic that will be created by extending the quarry. The use of HGVs down a Newlands Lane entrance lane will make the area much more dangerous for many pedestrians."

Speaking on behalf of Braithwaite, Philip Sherland said that expansion would protect builders' jobs, adding: "Since the recession, the demand for bricklaying materials has increased dramatically.

"Material extraction is now at significant risk.

"(Council) officers that said that the HGVs will increase noise levels above what is permitted, but that is simply not the case."

A total of seven letters of support were attached to the application, though six of these were from brick manufacturers with connections to the company.

Coun Box, who represents Altofts and Whitwood, urged the committee to "put people before profit".

He said: "This would have a devastating impact on the community, its residents and its very large numbers of young children.

"How can we expect young people to achieve their full potential when they will have to put up with constant noise during lessons and polluted air when they come out?"

The proposal was unanimously turned down by the committee's 12 councillors.