A STONE quarry has been given permission to expand its operation, creating around a dozen new jobs.

A planning committee today granted W E Leach (Shipley) Ltd permission to expand its sandstone quarry, which lies on Green Belt land between Apperley Bridge and Rawdon, at Apperley Lane.

Under the plans, excavation would move into pastureland to the north of the existing quarry.

A planners’ report to Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals committee said the existing quarry void was now worked out and due for restoration, and that without the proposed extension the quarry would close.

The report said 28 people had objected to the plans, raising concerns about the potential impact on the Green Belt, the creation of noise or dust and the proximity to the Cragg Wood conservation area and listed buildings.

But the Environmental Health department’s noise nuisance team and its air quality team had both said they had no objections to the application.

After the meeting, chairman of the committee, Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke), told the Telegraph & Argus it was a good plan which would create skilled jobs.

He said committee member Councillor Jack Rickard (Con, Craven) had made the point that the plan was “well thought-out”, which he said he fully agreed with.

He said: “This is good use of the land and also the company say it will bring in additional employment of around 12 employees.”

Cllr Warburton said the company also wanted to employ people from the surrounding area.

He said: “I think it is really good that we have got a company willing to do something that’s a very highly skilled job and wanting to employ local people to do that.”

Although the site is in the Green Belt, this does not prevent the extraction of minerals, the company’s planning agent John Kermode had said in the application papers.

He had added: “The principle of quarrying for stone has been established for a great length of time from approximately 1930 and is continuing to date.”

Ward councillor Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) told the Telegraph & Argus that the creation of additional jobs would be of benefit to the area.

She said: “It’s an existing quarry that provides work. It’s going to increase the number of jobs available, so it’s meeting the demand for work and it’s going to bring back into use as green space a piece of previously quarried land.”

The same meeting also heard about the latest money secured from developers to pay for upgrades to infrastructure such as schools, roads and open spaces.

Eight so-called Section 106 agreements had been signed between April 1 and September 30, securing investment of around £636,000. To date, none of this money has yet been handed over, because it is only payable when development reaches a certain trigger point.