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COUNCILLORS are set to decide on reasons for refusing plans for a quarry near Pontypridd to keep operating for a further six years.

Hanson UK’s plans to extend its quarrying at Craig yr Hesg Quarry in Glyncoch by changing the deadline from 2022 to 2028 will go back before Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee on Thursday, October 7.

The committee voted against the proposal at a meeting in August and because it went against officers’ recommendations it has to come back to committee again for the reasons for refusal to be officially decided.

At the August meeting, councillors were of the view that the proposal is a detriment to the amenity and well-being of the area.

There were 14 public objections to the plan submitted to the council over policy issues, blasting, noise, vibration and dust pollution.

They also raised safety concerns about the impact of the proposal on local roads, the local primary school and the effect on wildlife.

The application relates to the continuation of quarrying without complying with certain conditions imposed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council back in 2013.

Currently, the site operates under four planning permissions for mineral extraction, which date between 1949 and 1993.

There were 49 conditions issued including conditions imposing time limits including a limit of December 31, 2022 for working on minerals and the deposit of mineral waste.

Other conditions imposed a time limit of December 31, 2023 to remove all plant machinery and residual stocks of material, a time limit of December 31, 2022 to submit a final restoration plan and a deadline of December 31, 2024 to implement the approved final restoration plan.

This application’s aim is to extend the time limit set out in condition one to December 31, 2028 and to add six years to the other conditions.

The application said that there were 3.3 million tonnes of rock remaining within the existing quarry on December 31, 2020 and historically the output from the quarry has averaged 400,000 tonnes a year.

The report said that the existing reserves would provide for a quarry life of eight years which would take it up to December 31, 2028.

The timetable in the application is for the extraction and processing of minerals from the site to stop by December 31, 2028, all residual stocks, fixed plant and buildings to which this permission relates to be removed by December 31, 2029 and and restoration to be completed by December 31, 2030.

Plans for a western expansion of the quarry were rejected by planning committee in early 2020 after more than 400 objections were received raising concerns over noise, vibration and blasting from the site, the impact on air quality, the distance between the quarrying and residential areas, the impact on local roads and the effect on ecology and the countryside.

The planning report said an appeal has been made against this refusal but no decision has been made yet.

Although officers are still recommending approval for the time extension, they have suggested an official reason for refusal as being “The additional period of six years proposed for the working of the quarry unacceptably extends the period of mineral operations within 200m of sensitive development within Glyncoch.

“Glyncoch is a deprived community, and such communities are acknowledged as being disproportionately affected by health problems.

“The continuation of quarrying within 200m of that community extends the impacts of quarrying (especially in terms of noise, dust and air quality) to the detriment of the amenity and well-being of residents contrary to the well-being goal of a healthier Wales as set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

“The need for the mineral does not outweigh the amenity and well-being impacts.”

But planning officers mentioned in the original planning report that there is a need for the foreseeable future for a wide range of minerals.

They said the role of the planning authority is to balance the fundamental requirement to ensure the adequate supply of minerals with the protection of amenity and the environment.

The planning officers said in the report that the economic need for the mineral has been clearly demonstrated and without these reserves the authority would fall below the 10-year land bank required in the Local Development Plan with no prospect of realistic alternatives being found in the short term.

They said that this needs to be balanced against the potential environmental
and amenity impacts raised by objectors.

They added: “In considering those potential impacts it must be noted that the impacts can be controlled to nationally set standards by planning conditions attached to any planning permission.

“On balance it is concluded that there is an overriding economic need for the
mineral which is not outweighed by any potential environmental and amenity

Hanson UK said previously that the site is of national importance as it supplies high skid- resistance stone used in the construction and maintenance of road infrastructure across South Wales and beyond.

They said the proposals will not alter the overall footprint of the site but will allow sufficient time for the permitted reserves to be fully worked, while operating under planning conditions which will adequately control impacts on the environment and local area.

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