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The Thornborough Henges


Decision-makers urged to reject quarrying near henges

Decision-makers urged to reject quarrying near henges

From the archive, first published Wednesday 14th Sep 2005.

THE long and often acrimonious battle over the future of one of Britain's most important archaeological sites will come to a head next week.

At a meeting in Masham town hall, North Yorkshire county councillors will decide on the future of quarrying operations by the 5,000-year-old Thornborough henges.

In a major blow for quarry operator Tarmac, they are being recommended to throw out plans to extend extractions near the three large Neolithic earthworks.

Planning officials said the proposal would have "an unacceptable impact on nationally important archaeological remains".

They also said the move would be contrary to the authority's policy on mineral extraction and that there was no overriding need for it.

Tarmac Northern wants to extend Nosterfield Quarry at Ladybridge Farm, Thornborough, near Ripon, to extract 2.2 million tonnes of sand and gravel over four years.

An application was submitted in June last year and immediately brought protests from those who feared for the future of the henges, about a kilometre south-east of the extension area.

Almost 850 letters of objection and three petitions with a total of 9,680 signatures were sent in. Some of the objections came from overseas.

The Council for British Archaeology, Yorkshire Archaeology Society and action groups the Friends of Thornborough Henges and Timewatch also submitted detailed responses calling for the scheme to be rejected.

Tarmac has insisted throughout that the development would pose no threat to the henges, saying the extension would be further from the earthworks than the existing quarry site.

Yesterday, their response to the recommendation to refuse permission was muted.

Tarmac Northern estates manager Bob Nicholson said: "We have only just learnt of the officers' recommendation and will need to study the report to committee in detail before we are able to comment further."

Councillors will meet at 1pm on Tuesday, and the public turnout is expected to be high. The chairman of Timewatch, George Chaplin, was not making any early celebrations yesterday.

He said: "The messages we are getting are that refusal is far from certain."
Posted by BrigantesNation
16th September 2005ce

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