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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 16:26 GMT
Quarry firm wins Henges extension
Thornborough Henges from the air
Each henge consists of circular earth banks and ditches
Controversial plans to extend a quarry close to an ancient monument in North Yorkshire have been given the go-ahead despite opposition from campaigners.

Construction firm Tarmac can now extend its works at Ladybridge Farm, near the historic Thornborough Henges.

Campaigners had been fighting the plans for three years - fearing further work would damage the 5,000 year old site.

The henges - earth works - are believed to be one of the largest ritual gathering places of the Neolithic era.

A revised scheme was granted after the original bid was rejected in February.

Tarmac Estates manager Bob Nicholson said the decision had come as "a great relief" to the company's employees, hauliers and others whose livelihoods rely on the Nosterfield quarry.

The approval of the reduced plans will allow Tarmac to take out sand and gravel on a site east of Nosterfield quarry at Ladybridge Farm on condition the company gives legal safeguards to protect the site.

Map showing location of Thornborough Henges
A Tarmac spokesman confirmed the firm's appeal against refusal of its earlier application would be withdrawn.

George Chaplin, chairman of the campaign group Timewatch, said the petition, which included 10,000 names and addresses, was ruled inadmissible to the planning committee.

He said: "I find it very concerning with regards to democracy.

"We had hoped the council would incorporate the views of their voters in to the minerals planning strategy by now, but it hasn't happened.

"We always hear about how apathetic the voters are meant to be, but when the voters actually put their names and addresses down on a petition it's just ignored. What does this mean for democracy?"

Mr Chaplin added the campaign would continue and take its case to central government.

An English Heritage spokeswoman said the area between the Rivers Ure and Swale contains the most significant concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and related archaeological deposits in the north of England.




SEE ALSO
Monument quarry plans thrown out
21 Feb 06 |  North Yorkshire
Planners to visit monument site
19 Jul 05 |  North Yorkshire
Thousands support quarry petition
01 Jul 05 |  North Yorkshire
US campaigners join henges battle
16 Jun 05 |  North Yorkshire
'No evidence' of historic remains
24 May 05 |  North Yorkshire
Fight to stop quarry growth plans
03 Jun 04 |  South Yorkshire

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