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15 October 2006
Council intent on destruction of Yorkshire's archaeology

Angry campaign groups have accused North Yorkshire County Council of encouraging the destruction of one of the area’s most important ancient sites. Campaigners from Heritage Action and TimeWatch have claimed the council seems intent on ruining the archaeology surrounding historic Thornborough Henges, near Bedale. The campaigners say they were 'astonished and dismayed' to learn that the council is considering land in the vicinity as a preferred area for future quarrying.
     Quarry firm Tarmac was refused planning permission in March for an expansion of activities at Nosterfield Quarry, close to the henges, but resubmitted an alternative proposal for the Ladybridge Farm site in July, as well as appealing against the decision. Spokesman for Heritage Action, Stephen Cornwell, said: "It is quite incredible what is going on. Tarmac is appealing against a refusal to extend their existing quarry, yet at the same time North Yorkshire County Council has invited suggestions for further quarrying." TimeWatch chairman George Chaplin said he was dismayed by the plans to make the area around the henges a preferred site for quarrying. "North Yorkshire County Council seems actually to be encouraging these companies to destroy the nationally important heritage of this area," he said.
     A spokesman for the county council refuted claims they wanted to destroy the site, and said they are currently consulting on a range of potential new areas for development across North Yorkshire, as required by law. "It is entirely incorrect that we are encouraging the destruction of the site and we have worked quite hard to encourage the protection of the area. The council is aware of concerns about future quarrying in the vicinity of Thornborough Henges and these concerns will be taken into account before any decisions are made."
     Consultation to draw up blueprints for quarrying and waste disposal is still at an early stage, according to the council, which has said its minerals and waste development framework will begin later this month. A spokesman for Tarmac said: "As announced last year, Tarmac has made no submission to quarry on Thornborough Moor adjacent to the Thornborough Henges."

Source: Nidderdale Today (13 October 2006)

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