|26 February 2006
Now protect Thornborough henges for all time
Campaigners are calling for more protection to ge given to the ancient site at Thornborough, north of Ripon (North Yorkshire, England), after quarry giant Tarmac announced it would challenge a decision blocking its expansion plans.
North Yorkshire County Councilís planning committee voted 6 - 3 to reject Tarmacís controversial proposal to quarry 112 acres at Ladybridge Farm, close to the 5,000 year old henges. But before anti-quarry campaigners had time to celebrate their victory, Tarmac announced it would be appealing against the decision.
The firmís estates manager, Bob Nicholson, said: "We will appeal against this decision because we believe that the advice given by English Heritage is based on speculation and supposition about the status of archaeology at Ladybridge and their assertion of national importance is not supported by factual evidence."
In response to the continued threat of quarrying near the henges, heritage action group TimeWatch has called for the recently proposed Thornborough Henges conservation plan to be radically redrafted to reflect the importance of the area. Spokesman George Chaplin said: "The threat of quarrying has not been removed by the planning refusal but it has given time to take stock and for everyone to agree upon the best future for the whole area."
The Timewatch proposals are for a much wider 'no quarry zone' extending at least a mile radius from the central monuments amd the preservation of all archaeology within the zone to be the top priority. Mr Chaplin said: "Tarmac have not given up in their ambition to extend the existing quarry. They intend to appeal against the refusal and the danger remains very real for the whole of the remaining surroundings.
Extensive archaeological excavations at Ladybridge led English Heritage to oppose any further quarrying in the area because because it was a site of national importance. But Mr Nicholson insisted: "Our proposal for Ladybridge, which actually moves quarrying further away from the henges than our current operation, poses absolutely no threat to the ancient monument, which is protected by law. We maintain that our application is both justified and reasonable and we will mount a robust case for its approval at appeal, when we hope that factual evidence will prevail over mythical invention.Ē
Tarmacís application had been hugely controversial, with anti-quarry campaigners winning international support to safeguard the setting of an ancient monument that has been named 'The Stonehenge of the North'. Yorkshire Euro-MP, Edward McMillan-Scott, who visited Thornborough last year, said he was delighted with the councilís refusal of planning permission.
Source: Ripon Today (24 February 2006)
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