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Stop Grange Quarry Expansion Group campaigns against Heidelberg Materials’, formerly known as Hanson Cement, plans for Ketton cement works

A group of concerned residents has pledged to ‘make a lot of noise’ against plans to expand a quarry.

Heidelberg Materials, formerly known as Hanson Cement, has submitted a planning application to Rutland County Council to extend its Grange Top quarry, adjacent to Ketton cement works as mineral reserves are running out.

Two new areas, already in Hanson’s ownership, known as Field 14 and Northwest Land, have been identified as suitable extensions and are already recognised by Rutland County Council as potential areas for mineral extraction for cement manufacture.

People living in Empingham are opposing plans to extend the cement works quarry in Ketton
People living in Empingham are opposing plans to extend the cement works quarry in Ketton

However, members of Stop Grange Quarry Expansion Group https://stopgrangetopquarryexpansion.co.uk want to prevent the new land being quarried, arguing it will have a negative impact beyond Ketton.

Matthew Eatough, who lives in Empingham with his wife and 13-year-old daughter, is among those leading the campaign.

The 48-year-old said: “We have grave concerns over these plans and the deep harm a giant doubling of the site could bring to Empingham.

“The fact that Heidelberg hasn't consulted the people of Empingham in any meaningful way is both woeful and worrying.

“We will be scrutinising every word of their planning application.”

He believes the application will dominate the landscape in the east of the county, including Rutland Water.

The Hanson Cement consultation in Ketton
The Hanson Cement consultation in Ketton

“We think it’s a disproportionate visual impact particularly in the gateway to Rutland on the A1,” said Matthew, who works in finance.

Coupled with the developments for Stamford North and St George’s Barracks, Michael believes ‘it’s too much for this corner of Rutland to bear’.

The group is engaging with business owners, people living in neighbouring villages and Rutland MP Alicia Kearns.

Matthew has also employed DLP Planning Ltd to formally outline the group’s objections.

He said: “It’s probably the biggest planning application in 30 miles and will impact at least half the county. It needs to be properly considered.”

Matthew added: “We are planning to make a lot of noise.”

The cement works in Ketton
The cement works in Ketton

Among the objections are air quality, lighting, noise, increase in dust, sustainability, ecology and economic impacts.

Heidelberg’s proposals include a new access road to Ketton cement works, which will cross northwest land from the quarry to a new roundabout junction with the A606.

The group believes this would cause a significant and dangerous increase in traffic.

A consultation event was held in July last year to explain the plans to people living nearby and gather feedback.

Matthew, who was unable to attend, believes not enough was done to engage directly with residents and has been surprised by the lack of attention.

He also emailed Heidelberg to raise his concerns but says he did not receive a response.

“It makes me feel the consultation is slightly farcical. I think there must be a certain arrogant assumption that it won’t get much opposition,” he said.

Mark Page, land and mineral resources manager for Heidelberg Materials, explained that with supplies running out the expansion is needed to safeguard supplies of cement, 250 jobs and up to 5,000 more in the supply chain.

He said: “Our proposals have been developed to protect and enhance nature and mitigate impact on our neighbours.

“Measures such as retaining and supplementing existing vegetation, screening bunds, new planting and phased mineral extraction will help minimise noise and dust.

“It also means that the visual impact of quarrying at any single point in time is minimal, safeguarding the overall character of the area.”

The plans also include improvements to footways and bridleways, linking Ketton and Stamford for the first time.

According to Heidelberg’s research, the new access road will reroute 345 lorries a day plus 290 other vehicles away from Ketton and Tinwell.

Ahead of submitting the proposals people living within an approximate 5km radius of the site were invited by door-dropped invitation to attend the consultation event.

Mark said: “We have also engaged directly with the community’s representatives on Empingham Parish Council and last autumn distributed an update on our proposals to all those who responded to our consultation.

“This included setting out how the feedback received helped shape our final plans.”

The plans can be viewed by searching for 2024/0066 on the Rutland County Council planning portal.

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