Quarry protest heads for Dudley's doorstep

KINGSWINFORD quarry campaigners are set to bring a bitter row to Dudley Council's door amid accusations of officer complacency.

Councillor Patrick Harley blasted the authority ahead of a mass protest at Dudley Council House against plans for more recycling work at Ketley Quarry.

The application, from WCL Quarries Limited, requests permission to crush and screen materials like demolition rubble at the Dudley Road site but campaigners say extra work will bring more dirt, disruption and danger to the roads and neighbourhood.

Conservative Cllr Harley, who was Dudley cabinet member for transport until his party lost control of the authority in May, said: "Do we really have to wait for an accident to happen? This is a main road for busses and kids going to schools."

The broadside from Cllr Harley came as he insisted a previous increase in operations at Ketley Quarry had already caused more mud on Dudley Road and the council is not doing enough to tackle the problem.

Cllr Harley said: "The chief executive said the road is no worse now than it was before, this is a complacent attitude and we want him to get out of his ivory tower and come and look for himself."

A date for the application to go before Dudley planners is yet to be fixed but opponents have already written 350 letters of objection and gathered a petition of 1,100 names.

Councillor Shaukat Ali, Dudely cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The council is continuing to work with the owners of Ketley Quarry and local residents to ensure the conditions of the company’s existing planning permissions are met.

“We are doing everything we can within the law to ensure the business complies with all its legal obligations. Where breaches arise they will be dealt with appropriately.

"The current planning applications are being assessed and will be determined by committee, in due course."

WCL Quarrys say there are currently an average of 120 two-way vehicle movements at the quarry's main entrance per day and the company provides wheel washing facilities and a road sweeper.

The company also says it operates within regulations and is keen to be a good neighbour but some circumstances are beyond its control.

However Ketley Quarry campaigners say trucks using the quarry already make their lives a misery and they are determined to fight hard to get the application thrown out.

Cllr Harley said: “The condition of the Dudley Road is there for all to see. This is unacceptable, they should do the right thing and this application should be refused.

"Our campaign is not going away and we will continue to stay on council officers' backs.”

Campaigners will gather on Monday October 29 at the council house ahead of a meeting of the authority's planning committee.

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