Firm want to dig out millions of tonnes of stone from quarry near Rivington Pike

The firm estimates that the work would require an average of 25 HGV movements in and out per day.

A quarry firm will this week hear if their intention to extend their site to dig out millions of tonnes of stone has been successful.

Armstrong’s, who currently operate Montcliffe quarry, off Georges Lane in Horwich, close to Rivington Pike and the West Pennine moors, intend to extend the site northwards.

The plans are a resubmission of a previous application which was refused by Bolton Council in March 2021 for three reasons, harm to landscape character, inappropriate development in the green belt and harm to biodiversity.

Bolton’s planning committee will decide the latest application on Thursday, 21 July.

Montcliffe quarry near Horwich Credit; LDRS

In planning documents submitted to the council Armstrong’s said that they now proposed a shallower quarry depth meaning that 820,000 fewer tonnes of mineral would be extracted and the anticipated time-scales for completion of extraction works would be 14 years rather than the originally anticipated 20 years.

In total, Armstrong’s plan to extract 1.93 million tonnes of grit stone for the production of high quality stone and aggregates.

The firm estimated that the work would require an average of 25 HGV movements in and out per day.

Planning officers at Bolton Council have recommended approval of the scheme.

Their report, said: “There will be harm to the landscape of the area during the mineral extraction phase of the development.

“This visual impact is identified within the analysis as being most significant from the public rights of ways on the surrounding moorland and on higher ground towards Rivington Pike.

“However, following the proposed restoration of the quarry extension the development would better assimilate with the neighbouring landscape and therefore given the temporary nature of the harm identified, officers consider that only moderate harm should be given to this impact on the planning balance.

“Officers again consider that the proposed development would not constitute inappropriate development in the green belt.

“Great weight should be attached to the proposed mineral extraction outweighs the moderate harm to the landscape and to biodiversity during the operational and extraction phase of the development.”

Objections raised

Twenty-six letters of objection have been received against the plans.

They raise concerns including ‘the original application was unanimously refused by Bolton’s planning committee and this application proposes the same’ and that the extension would cause ‘significant harm to the landscape’.

Other objectors said ‘the quarry is already a scar on the landscape’ that it was ‘inappropriate development in the green belt and there would be ‘loss and harm to biodiversity’.

Horwich Town Council and borough ward councillors have also raised objections to the scheme.