Call for independent henges opinion
Campaigners are calling for an independent assessment by archaeologists of the threatened quarry site near the Thornborough Henges.
Last week North Yorkshire County Council put off a decision on controversial plans by quarry firm Tarmac to extract 2.2 million tonnes of sand a gravel from the Ladybridge Farm site, half a mile from the triple henge complex north of Ripon.
But campaign group TimeWatch has voiced concerns regarding the agreed strategy of allowing Tarmac a further four months to carry out research into the archaeology at the proposed quarry site.
The group has now called on North Yorkshire councillors to ensure that the archaeological work due to be carried out at Ladybridge is done by an independent third party.
"There is a massive gulf between Tarmac and the rest of the archaeological world regarding the importance of Thornborough's archaeology," said George Chaplin, chairman of TimeWatch.
"Now that Tarmac's evaluation has effectively been rejected by the council, we are pressing to get this new evaluation done by an independent third party otherwise we can see that this confused situation will only continue.
"For more than three years Tarmac have abjectly refused to accept the notion that there could be archaeology of national importance at Ladybridge. This line has remained unchanged despite the protestations of a great many archaeologists, campaigners and now English Heritage.
"When Tarmac was faced with rejection of the planning application, they ask for a delay, not so they can work out how much nationally important archaeology they are looking at, but to try yet again to prove that it is not important at all.
"This is turning into a critical situation, one that could have ramifications for every major heritage site in North Yorkshire."
Tarmac's existing Nosterfield Quarry, close to the henges, is nearing the end of its working life and the firm wants to continue production by expanding on to the adjacent Ladybridge site.
The firm's estates manager, Bob Nicholson, said: "The application site is more than half a mile from the nearest henge and in our view truly poses no threat to the monument. Tarmac has no wish or intention to affect the henges but naturally we want to continue in production and keep the employment in place."
Commenting on the deferment of a decision on their application, he said: "The deferment will give time to discuss the archaeological aspects with English Heritage in more detail and hopefully reach an informed decision based on additional factual evidence if required."
The county council is expected to consider the matter again in January.
30 September 2005
Posted by BrigantesNation
30th September 2005ce
Edited 1st October 2005ce