Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 12:12 UK

Needingworth Quarry expansion plan sparks concern

Candidates for South East Cambridgeshire have raised concerns about proposals to expand Needingworth Quarry.

Plans to expand the site, currently under consideration, could see an extra three million tonnes of sand and gravel being removed from the quarry.

The developments would increase the amount of traffic on the roads around the quarry, sparking concerns among those living in Willingham and Over.

James Paice, the Conservative candidate who has served as the area's MP since 1987, said he would "fight hard" to ensure that lorries were banned from driving through villages in the constituency.

"Any expansion of the quarry must not disrupt the potential route of a bypass," he said.

Mr Paice said he believed the county council should negotiate with the developer to find funding for a bypass if the expansion goes ahead.

'Strong feeling'

Jonathan Chatfield, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the seat, said that the "jury is still out" on the proposals and that he would like to see more detailed information about the routes lorries would take to the quarry.

"We've seen a lot of projects which on the face of it look like employment opportunities but actually mean a large increase in heavy lorries travelling through villages that are just not suitable for that kind of transport," he said.

Mr Chatfield said that there may be routes that are suitable and did not see the construction of a new bypass as a "primary option".

John Cowan, the Labour candidate said, that there was quite a "strong feeling" against some of the proposals in the constituency.

"There is a need for aggregates for our housing programme….but the expansion needs to be done [in a way] that does not have a massive impact on these local communities," he said.

Mr Cowan said that a bypass could be an option but said he would not instinctively favour it as it could cause further problems and might have to be built on green field land.

The General Election will take place on 6 May.

The candidates declared for South East Cambridgeshire are: Conservative: James Paice; Labour: John Cowan; Liberal Democrat: Johnathan Chatfield; UK Independence Party: Andy Monk; Green: Simon Sedgewick; Independent: Geoffrey Woollard.



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