Quarrying planning permissions which could have threatened a Derbyshire nature reserve have now been revoked.
Derbyshire County Council’s planning committee, on Monday 8th April 2019, voted unanimously to revoke two planning permissions at Hoe Grange Quarry, north of Brassington.
The former quarry site, which covers an area of land the size of six football pitches, is now a nature reserve under the management of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
However, council officials had feared that if permission to quarry the land – as it had been for more than fifty years by Longcliffe Quarries Ltd until the 1990s – was to remain, the nature reserve would never be truly protected.
The planning permissions in question date back to the 1960s and give developers the right to return at any time and pitch new plans to mine the site.
This decision, the county council’s planning committee hope, will help secure the future of the site indefinitely for the wildlife trust.
Councillor Paul Smith said: “This is a wonderful conclusion for the site and the fact that it will be protected for wildlife is great. I hope (quarrying) plans don’t come forward in the future – it was refreshing to read this report.”
A report ahead of the meeting said: “Despite the current active management of the site for the benefit of invertebrates by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, there is always the potential that ownership of the site could change and mineral extraction operations recommence.
“Under those circumstances, I consider that a revocation order would provide additional protection against reactivation of the Hoe Grange Quarry development.
“Any further development of the site would be likely to damage or destroy its wildlife habitats, as well as harm the visual amenity of the surrounding area and the character of the National Park.
“In this instance, making a revocation order to extinguish the permissions is also considered to be an appropriate demonstration of the council’s commitment to the protection of the amenities of the area and in respect of biodiversity gain.”
A statement on the wildlife trust’s website states: “As you would expect there are still areas of bare ground which provide an ideal place for insects to sunbathe.
“Surrounding these is a beautiful flower-rich short limestone grassland whilst at the fringes of the quarry is taller grass and woodland.
“There is even a disused dew pond which we hope to restore in time.
“The quarry is particularly of interest because of the number of diversity of butterflies which occur here.
“Volunteers from Butterfly Conservation Trust have been walking a weekly transect at Hoe Grange for a few years and their results are fantastic, they have recorded a total of 24 different species of butterfly.
“We are working closely with Butterfly Conservation Trust to ensure that the site is managed in the best way as a future haven for butterflies.”