Campaigners say they are ‘over the moon’ after plans for a controversial sand and gravel pit in Nottinghamshire fields were withdrawn.
There had been strong opposition from local residents, MPs and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to the quarry application near Barton in Fabis.
The site would have spanned an area the size of 120 football pitches.
Residents living at nearby Lark Hill Retirement Village, Clifton, feared the plans would leave them trapped in their homes due to noise and dust.
Nottinghamshire County Council, which had been dealing with the application since 2017, previously said it was working through “complex planning issues” with the applicant.
But campaigners say the fight is not over as the company leading the project say it had withdrawn the application but plans to submit new proposals in 12 to 15 months.
Joan Thomas, a wheelchair user who lives with her husband Colin, who has a respiratory problem, said she was “crying with joy” when she heard the news.
She said: “We fought this because we knew it was wrong.
“This site is not fit for purpose for a quarry. We joined the campaign 10 months ago, weeks after moving here. Now we can feel we can breathe for a minute and recover.
“Our lounge is like a printing shop with all the papers.
“We are over the moon we’ve got this opportunity to have this shelved.
“We’ve won this fight but the battle is still there.”
A letter to the County Council on March 2 from PDE Consulting Limited, the company leading the project, said it “must be mindful” of the application having been submitted in 2017 and therefore “there is an argument to say that some of the submitted information is now out of date”.
It added: “Equally, as the application has evolved over time, we now have a rather complex matrix of documents forming the application which may make it difficult to understand, which is unhelpful.
“While the planning application is now withdrawn, the concept of establishing a quarry at this location is set out in recent policy, as is the need for the aggregates.
“It is important for these aggregates to be supplied so we shall submit a new planning application which will seek to extract, process and distribute these aggregates. We have begun the preliminary stages of preparing such an application and I imagine that it will be submitted in 12-15 months’ time.”
A spokesperson for the SAVE campaign group, which was set up in response to the application, added: “This is a good day for the residents of Larkhill Retirement Village, the wildlife of Attenborough Nature Reserve and the communities of Clifton, Clifton Village, Barton in Fabis, Gotham & Thrumpton.
“It’s been eight years of hard work and whilst we know this isn’t the end of the campaign, it is perhaps the end of the beginning.”
Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South said: “This is brilliant news. But it’s clear that the fight isn’t over. I’ll continue to work with residents at Lark Hill and across Clifton to oppose sand and gravel quarrying and processing on this site, working alongside the SAVE campaigners in the County.”
Ruth Edwards, Conservative MP for Rushcliffe added that she was “delighted” to see the application withdrawn.
She said: “It was nowhere near good enough for such a sensitive location.
“With more than 100 problems with the proposals, it is absolutely right that it has been withdrawn.”
A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust added that they have been fighting to protect the land nearby the “much loved” Attenborough Nature Reserve for almost a decade.
They added: “We therefore welcome news that the application has been withdrawn, but remain committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with local campaigners to protect the area’s wildlife.
“This is one of the most ecologically damaging minerals allocations we’ve ever dealt with and it is difficult to see how a new application could be modified to remove the impacts on wildlife. We would also question whether it is justifiable to subject residents and others that care about the local area to yet more uncertainty and delay.”
Chairman of the county council’s Planning and Rights of Way Committee, Cllr Richard Butler (Con), said the authority is in the process of informing residents of the withdrawal.
He said: “The applicant has already stated in correspondence to us of their intention to resubmit an application in due course.
“We are aware of the considerable public interest caused by this particular case and if a fresh application is submitted our committee will carefully consider it from all aspects.”