Site visit planned for quarry at Beauty Hill

Councillors are to visit the site of a proposed quarry “the size of 12 football pitches” just outside Newmachar before deciding if it should get the go-ahead.

By Kirstie Topp, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 10:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 10:25 am
Permission is being sought to create the nine hectare quarry at Beauty Hill
Permission is being sought to create the nine hectare quarry at Beauty Hill

JKR Contractors Ltd applied to Aberdeenshire Council seeking permission to create the nine hectare quarry at Beauty Hill.

If approved the site at Rainnieshill would provide up to 500,000 tonnes of “high-quality” hard rock over 13 years.

The application was considered by the Formartine area committee last week.

Councillor Jim Gifford spoke at the meeting to voice his objection as a local resident.

He said: “We are a family living in a house which has occupied this quiet rural location for hundreds of years, which has been our home for over 30 years. There’s no mention of the real noise that comes from quarrying and we have first hand experience of that.

“The real noise is the screeching and scraping of steel buckets on hard rock as the stone is extracted and the loud booms as the rock is dropped in the trailers.

“We can see no mention of that or any assessment of what that noise would be when added to the other sounds of diesel engines, generators, rock drills, pumps, stone crushers, and screening machines that will also be operating on site.”

Mr Gifford also said that the quarry would be “an ugly scar” on Beauty Hill and added “quarries make bad neighbours”.

During discussion local members raised concerns about the number of lorries that would travel to and from the site. They also asked if the quarry would have an impact on private water supplies in the area.

Councillor Paul Johnston suggested the application be deferred for members to visit the site.

He said: “A number of items have been raised in the representations where it might have been helpful to have had a site visit given that it is a large and complex planning application.”

Councillor Derek Ritchie said a site visit would be “the best way forward” as he still had a “deep concern” about the roads.

The visit was also backed by councillor Alastair Forsyth who said it would help to “clear up a number of questions that are not fully rounded at this point”.

He added: “It’s very clear that this is a complex application with a number of interests that conflict each other.

“I think it would be very useful for committee to acquaint itself with the locality and give the whole appication some context from a geography point of view.”

Members also asked to for more detail on the school bus routes in the area.

Plans for the controversial development were first formed in 2019 and it has attracted outcry from local residents.

A total of 189 objections had been received along with 135 letters of support, however a petition had also been created against the quarry which gathered a staggering 743 signatures.

Those in support of the development said it would support local businesses and provide a boost to the area’s economic recovery.

However objectors raised concerns that the quarry would lead to an increase in noise and dust, create road safety issues and have an impact on the landscape.

The plan previously went before the Garioch area committee in April where councillors were asked to give a recommendation to their Formartine counterparts.

Garioch councillors said the application should be refused as it would have a “significant and detrimental” impact on the surrounding landscape and neighbouring properties.

However despite the objections council planners have recommended the development be given the green light.

The quarry application will be considered by the Formartine committee at their next meeting in August.

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No support for quarry at Beauty Hill