RESIDENTS fears could become reality after plans for a 12-year working quarry in Cranage have been submitted.

Minerals company, Sibelco, has submitted an application for a sand-extraction quarry at Rudheath Lodge Farm, situated in both Cranage and Allostock parishes.

More than 12 months of consultation has already taken place, with concerns over traffic management, pollution and noise levels at the forefront of worries for nearby residents, as well as concerns that following the operation, the restored land will not be available for public gain.

One Goostrey Lane resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “The biggest thing is that if it lasts 10, 12, 14 years and then turns into a lake- there’s no public access to it. We will have put up with an awful lot for no benefits.

“The unusual thing is that Sibelco haven’t bought the land, so the land will be restored and handed back to the owners, who don’t want to grant any public access.

“We are expecting 100 more HGV movements on the road and all the other associated disruption, but for no community benefit. It’s a poor show.”

In May 2015 the firm announced it was considering the scheme which would include approximately 12 years of extraction followed by a two-year restoration plan of 28 hectares (70 acres) of agricultural land and the creation of a 36 hectare (90 acre) mere.

Since then it has staged a number of public exhibitions including meetings at Allostock Parish Hall and Cranage Parish Hall met individually with neighbours and given presentations to local parish councillors.

As a result the project has evolved to include additional tree planting, acoustic screening and moving the operational site further away from residential properties.

If approved, mineral extraction would be undertaken by a single electrically powered dredger that would float on the new mere, sand being piped to a nearby washing plant hidden among woodland.

Mike Hurley, Sibelco’s sustainability manager, has been at the heart of the consultation exercise.

“We have intentionally invited comments from a wide audience in order to ensure our scheme addresses concerns and accords with local wishes as far as possible,” he said.

“There is a long history of sand extraction in the area and we are confident that our plan for Rudheath Lodge sets new standards in terms of public consultation, environmental consideration and our vision for restoration.

“Many of us involved in this application live and work in the area and we too want a high quality environment allied to economic prosperity.

“We are hopeful now that the local authority will grant permission for what we believe is a thoroughly credible plan to deliver a nationally important mineral in a responsible, safe and considered manner.”