Mr C.Jarvis,
Environmental Services,
Planning & Countryside Unit,
North Yorkshire County Council,
County Hall,
Northallerton DL7 8AH

Dear Sir,

PLANNING APPLICATION C2/29/500/53, LADYBRIDGE FARM

Please inform the committee that I object to this application because:

  1. Cumulative damage v the benefits of quarrying. This quiet rural area has suffered over 50 years of continuous open-cast quarrying, losing open vistas and accessible farmland, footpaths, jobs in agriculture, tourism development opportunities and quality of life. In return it has gained a waste tip, an ugly fenced-off elitist “nature reserve”, a disrupted water table, hazardous road conditions, reduced amenity values and the stress of feeling disenfranchised. To support its application, Tarmac must be required to demonstrate that the benefits of additional quarrying here outweigh the adverse cumulative effects listed above. I do not think this is possible as very few local people are employed at the quarry (only one in fact,) and Tarmac spends little of its profits in the area. The threat of jobs lost if the quarry closes does not stand up to scrutiny as the contractors who work there will simply move on to the next quarry when Tarmac moves.

  2. The need for a plan. Fifty percent of the unique prehistoric landscape surrounding the Thornborough Henges has already been denied to posterity for short-term economic gain. What we need is a proper plan for the future incorporating strategies on quarrying, on agriculture and on a sustainable economic future for the area. The surviving un-quarried landscape should be managed sensitively in order to make its historic value more attractive to caring visitors and new small businesses, while ensuring that the delicate buried archaeology is preserved by protecting the existing land surface.

  3. Gravel v heritage. Tarmac has failed to prove that it is necessary to destroy a landscape of international archaeological importance in order to supply an out-of-county market with sand and gravel that could readily be obtained from a less sensitive site like those already quarried by its competitors. The value of the archaeology here is worth more to the Nation than the commercial value of the aggregates beneath, so quarrying at Nosterfield should stop.

  4. Dishonesty. Tarmac’s ecological evidence is flawed as it says there is little plant or animal life here of any significance, yet a 2003 report by Harrogate and District Naturalists Society describes many rare and valuable species in the area. Someone is being dishonest! A dishonest application ought to be rejected.

  5. Contradiction of guidelines. Even more valuable agricultural land is at risk of being lost to quarrying here. Yet the Local Minerals Plan says that this should not happen. Why does North Yorkshire County Council have rules and guidelines if it can just choose to ignore them?

  6. Unsustainable after-use. Tarmac's proposed after-use includes manufacturing an unnatural and alien water-based landscape because by digging so deep beneath the water-table, they have no choice. But wet-land after-use costs money to maintain. Where does this money come from? Will Tarmac be paying for it forever, or will it be the taxpayer? If the proposed after-use is not sustainable, it should not be permitted.

  7. Loss to the landscape. In the Ladybridge application Tarmac describes the local landscape as “flat, uninteresting and lacking in character.” They say that quarrying will improve this. To me this countryside is beautiful and does not need improving – certainly not by quarrying. Look at our legacy so far – the Nosterfield Nature Reserve is nothing but an ugly, inaccessible abandoned quarry with a colony of gulls which feed on the nearby rubbish tip. Tarmac spin cannot make this beautiful. The company must not be allowed to destroy more of our landscape. Enough is enough!

  8. An alternative site. Tarmac should be encouraged to find a less sensitive site which (a) will not remove/destroy good quality agricultural land, (b) will not damage the setting of an internationally important archaeological complex, and (c) is closer to its main market in the West Riding, thereby minimising transport problems and reducing hazards and maintenance costs on local roads.

  9. An alternative economy. Tarmac's contribution to the local economy is negligible, yet as it quarries, it is removing a valuable and irreplaceable economic asset – our heritage. Since our best kept secret is out, and everyone is aware of the importance of our Henges, we should see to it that it is handled in an acceptable way. People will want to visit this, “The Cradle of Civilization in Britain” and 'heritage tourism' can offer a far greater boost to the local economy to the whole area, than that offered by quarrying, - but it has to be managed in a way which is acceptable to residents here. Again, we need a plan for the economic future of our area. Nosterfield's plight has not been a happy one, but this is an opportunity to improve things. Out with the unsustainable (quarrying and loss of agriculture) and in with the sustainable alternatives of controlled tourism and a continuation of the rural way of life.

However there is more than economics at issue here. This is an opportunity to regain our pride in our heritage and our powerful links with the past, - pride in living in this unique area. So please reject this application to extend quarrying here and please put in place a plan which gives the area a sustainable future, protecting our heritage and our rural way of life.

Yours faithfully,