Excavation pit for bypass scheme comes under fire

CAMPAIGNERS have warned of “creeping industrialisation” into the countryside, after approvals were granted for major excavations to supply material for a £43m bypass.

As the Department of Transport approved the Bedale A684 bypass scheme this week, following years of delays over funding issues, North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee dismissed protestors' fears over the plan to provide minerals to build the road.

More than 100 lorries a day will use the site between Leeming Bar and Scruton after planners said creating a borrow pit near the bypass site - allowing the excavation of 400,000 tons of sand, gravel and clay - was acceptable.

Dozens of protestors said they feared this would set a precedent for other potential quarry sites nearby.

Applicant James Stubbs had told the committee lorries would only have to travel about 300 metres to the bypass site and to bring in materials from the new A1 redevelopment, which had been suggested would cost up to £500,000 extra.

The decision had previously been delayed to see if scrapings from the A1 redevelopment between Leeming Bar and Barton could be used, but the Highways Agency could not say how much of the material the A1 contractors would need.

Councillor Janet Crampton, of Scruton, said there had been no independent assessment of the scheme.

She added: “If you could see how narrow the lanes are and how this will affect the quality of our lives, we really don’t think there has been a fair chance to assess the situation and look at the options.

"We think this is the beginning of a creeping industrialisation programme, there is a larger mineral extraction proposal we are already challenging over the A1 and A684, the precedent has been set and that is the concern.”

Resident Mike Widmer said: “It appears this is a monumental waste of money.

"The problem is they have gone for perfection, but you could save huge amounts by having a roundabout instead of a bridge which wouldn’t need all the packing material that will be excavated.”

While Cllr Robert Heseltine told the meeting he was opposed to good quality agricultural land being put to other uses, Cllr David Blades said the solution to finding minerals for the bypass would only be temporary.

He said: " It’s a case of short pain for larger gain.”

Work on the bypass, which is expected to be completed by May 2016, could start shortly.

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