Lafarge plan may drive tourists away

Lafarge plan may drive tourists away
Published: 22 March 2004

UK: Locals are vowing to fight a planned quarry extension, which they say will be disastrous for Westbury’s White Horse.  Lafarge Cement hopes to double the size of its stone quarry, just below the town’s famous attraction, but some residents fear this will drive tourists away from the beauty spot.  The cement firm owns mineral rights to the area and is expected to lodge a formal planning application with Wiltshire County Council in the next few months. Before this bosses have been in preliminary discussions with rights of way officers at the county council over the implications of the plans.

Farmer Richard Gale rents the MoD-owned field, which has been earmarked for the quarry’s north eastern extension. He said: "My father fought this sort of thing back in 1978. It’s been muted for some time, but nobody wants a quarry right by the White Horse.  My father went to see the minister of defence to save the field and I shall do my best to oppose it now. It’s the second best-known site in the county after Stonehenge."  Westbury Town Council has also expressed concerns about the extension, but members will wait for the plan to be formally lodged before giving their final verdict.

Lafarge works manager John Collison said the extension would secure the firm’s future and alternative routes would be provided for walkers. He said: "The plans feature a superior restoration of the quarry, with increased diversity while having no impact on Bratton Camp, the White Horse or the public open space close to it."