You may have received a newsletter from Laver Leisure’s agents dated 11 September 2012. It says that proposals for redeveloping the quarries as a hotel and leisure complex are not yet at a stage for further consultation with the community.
As a related matter Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has consulted on a draft Churnet Valley Masterplan that includes Moneystone. The overwhelming public response is for minimal change and therefore does not support Laver’s ideas for redevelopment.
Laver purchased the majority of the Moneystone Quarries after Sibelco decided to abandon plans for extending the quarry and mineral processing after being refused permission in 2006 to extract a further 6.5 million tonnes of high quality silica sand. The shortfall in supply is now made up from their other UK quarries. Sibelco has kept ownership of the mineral reserves and laboratory at Moneystone, where the high grade silica sand was designated by the British Geological Survey as a scarce national raw material resource in a report commissioned by the County Council of Staffordshire’s Mineral Reserves in 2006.
A comprehensive and enforceable scheme to restore the quarries was agreed by Sibelco with the County Council in 2009 with two years allowed for completion from the time that quarry working finished i.e by 31 March next year. Laver took on the entire restoration obligation from Sibelco but believes the deadline for completion of restoration is a year later.
WAG has been monitoring developments for some time but there has been nothing positive to tell you until now. However, the recent news from Laver that it intends to submit a planning application to make changes to the restoration scheme because of instability of quarry 3 is a surprise. No public consultation is intended before the application is made.
The approved restoration scheme was put together with the expertise of Sibelco as experienced mineral operators and agreed with County Council experts. Laver’s proposed change suggests that Sibelco have not been competent in preparing the restoration scheme and that the County Council was negligent in approving the scheme. WAG does not consider the restoration scheme has any shortcomings but suspects that the reason for any change is to reconfigure the restoration to better suit Laver’s plans for a hotel and chalet complex as part of overall leisure development.
WAG has demanded community consultation before any planning application for a variation to the restoration scheme and is pressing the County Council to ensure that Laver complies with its restoration obligations by the end of next March. WAG is also pressing for reinstatement of public access via footpaths that were closed when quarrying consents were granted.
We will keep you informed on progress but please contact Nick Cresswell if there is any further information that would be helpful to you.
Whiston Action Group