UK campaigners yesterday urged residents living near a top Wiltshire tourist attraction to fight a cement giant’s plans to extend a quarry towards recreational land.
Nearby residents claimed proposals by Lafarge Cement UK to extend the chalk quarry serving its Westbury Works, on the edge of Salisbury Plain, would spoil the enjoyment of thousands of people who used the open green space near the Westbury White Horse. Thousands of people would lose out because the planned development would extend the quarry too close to the White Horse attraction.
Christopher Newbury, Wiltshire county councillor for Westbury said he outlined concerns in 2001 when Lafarge initially outlined its intentions. He said: "There was a big debate about the impact on the recreation area, how well it would be fenced off and how visible the quarry would be. I also expressed concerns about public rights of way that might be lost." The area Lafarge wants to work was allocated as a preferred area for mineral extraction in the Wiltshire and Swindon Minerals Local Plan, adopted in November 2001.
Lafarge’s Westbury Works manager Real Simard said: "Although our chalk quarry is close to the public open spaces next to the White Horse, few people know it is there. It is our goal to keep it that way - and we have developed the quarry plans to achieve this. Our key priority in developing the application has been to minimise the environmental impact, and we are inviting people to come to an exhibition about the plans."