A QUARRY firm has dropped its appeal over a refusal to expand Woodsford Quarry.

Hills Quarry Products Ltd had lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate after the former county council rejected its application in May 2018 to provide additional silt lagoon capacity and for the erection of an aggregate bagging plant.

The application said that around 70 per cent of the aggregates to be bagged would be dug from Woodsford Farm Quarry with the rest imported for bagging on site.

The company said in a statement at the time after the council rejected its application: "Hills Quarry Products is disappointed with the planning authority’s decision to refuse permission for an extension to Woodsford Quarry.

"This quarry provides essential materials for major infrastructure projects, smaller construction projects and essential services in the region.”

It later appealed against the decision but that appeal has now been withdrawn.

Woodsford Quarry began its operational life in September 2009 and has an anticipated yield of 4.2 million tonnes of sand and gravel which is expected to last 24 years including a rolling restoration programme.

The mineral is extracted at a rate of approximately 175,000 tonnes per year with the land being progressively restored back to agricultural fields with a small area of wetland.

The appeal application, which was first submitted in April 2015 had been opposed by Knightsford Parish Council, some residents and the Landmark Trust as well as the Thomas Hardy Society.

The Society said that they had "grave concerns about the application" particularly because the site is close to the historic Woodsford Castle, a fortified farmhouse run by the Landmark Trust.

"Not only is the Grade 1 listed 14th-century manor house clearly worthy of protection from this industrial development in its own right, but this is also a site of considerable significance in the work of Thomas Hardy,” said the Society in its submission to the original planning application.