Cowdale quarry plan rejected a second time

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after plans for a bottling plant to be built in Cowdale Quarry were unanimously rejected.

The proposal, which would have seen a new access road created from the A6, had prompted over 170 letters of objection.

One letter was received in support of the application, claiming the site was hidden and would create employment.

English Heritage was among the organisations objecting as they view the site as a nationally important heritage asset.

The Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire County Council Archeology, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Ramblers Association and the Buxton Group were also opposed to the proposals.

Ward member Councillor Keith Savage said if the plan were approved, huge amounts of stone would need to be moved: “We are not talking about a few lorry loads but many thousands. That removal could take eight months – more likely 18 months to two years.

“At present the only real access is via a very narrow lane through Cowdale which is hardly suitable for two cars – far less heavy haulage vehicles.

“This application remains highly speculative. It is far from clear that even if the quarry site is cleared that a bottling plant will ever be built.”

Applicant Paul Knell had urged the committee to defer their decision so they could respond to objections.

He stated that HPBC should have highlighted their interest in the application because of their agreement with Nestle over the right to bottle Buxton Mineral Water: “If the application were granted it would introduce competition to Nestle.”

Visually there would be virtually no impact on the National Park, and he highlighted that no mention had been made of the 2,000 signatures previously collected in favour of the project.

Mr Knell also criticised the report prepared by planning officers for the committee but that claim was rejected by Cllr Emily Thrane.

“It deals with the facts,” said Cllr Thrane. “And the fact that this application is riddled with holes is nothing to do with our officers.”

Officers had recommended refusal in principal as the development went against numerous planning policies and because of the adverse effect on the countryside, ancient woodland, a nationally important heritage asset and the national park, as well as concerns over noise and environmental issues.