Preesall quarry: Residents launch protest over controversial plans for site

Residents in Preesall are up in arms over controversial plans to establish a quarry in the village and have set up a campaign to fight the move.
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The scheme is earmarked for land at Bourbles Farm in Preesall and would entail the extraction of sand and gravel to build a quarry, to remove an estimated 460,000 tonnes of sand and gravel and to insert 300,000 tonnes of tested soil, clay and hardcore.

The quarry proposals have been put forward by Callum Baxter, a director with family building firm Baxter Homes Ltd, who is also a Conservative councillor on Wyre Council for the Victoria and Norcross ward in Cleveleys.

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Campaigners fear the proposals would lead to major traffic disruption in Preesall and would detrimentally affect the character of the Over Wyre village and surrounding area, and adversely impact on their quality of life.

Protesters against plans for a quarry in PreesallProtesters against plans for a quarry in Preesall
Protesters against plans for a quarry in Preesall

Mr Baxter, who owns the land, has applied to Lancashire Council for approval for a scoping document which would enable exploratory work to be undertaken on the site, prior to any full planning application.

In response to concerns raised, Mr Baxter says the County Council would impose strict conditions if the scheme went ahead

Residents first became aware of the plans after the county council contacted Preesall Town Council last month, seeking its comments on the issue.

Callum Baxter says there is a county-wide need for quarry amenityCallum Baxter says there is a county-wide need for quarry amenity
Callum Baxter says there is a county-wide need for quarry amenity
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This led to the Preesall Council calling an extraordinary meeting which was then attended by more than 80 residents – a major turn-out for a town council meeting.

It also prompted the set-up of a campaign group on Facebook, Preesall and Knott End Against Quarry Application.

Preesall Town Council sent a reply to County Hall within the 21 day deadline, outlining its opposition to the quarry proposals, while Wyre Council is also a consultee.

Coun Kath Shepherd, chairman of Preesall Town Council and also Mayor of Preesall, said: “As a council we have contacted Lancashire County Council with our response.

Leanne Murray set up campaign groupLeanne Murray set up campaign group
Leanne Murray set up campaign group
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"We are totally opposed even to the scoping document application and we have promised to keep residents informed of all developments.

"To say feeling are running high is an understatement.

"I’ve had people in tears phoning me, really worried about what this will mean for their homes here.

Leanne Murray, a Preesall resident who set up the campaign group, said: “Our group now has nearly 1,900 members with only approximately three weeks in.

"More than 80 people attended that meeting and maybe 20 or so spoke at it, while others were waiting outside.

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"In all my years we have never seen so many attend – that just shows the level of concern over this issue.”

Mr Baxter said: “There are no sand and gravel amenities in Lancashire and local plants are crying out for it.

"This is just a scoping document application to obtain Lancashire County Council’s views, and should there be a planning application, we would have to abide by any conditions placed by the county council.

"We want to work with the community and don’t want to upset people – these plans are not what some people are making it out to be.”

He said his grandfather had been born on the farm in question and his family was originally from Preesall.

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