Crag ready for battle

CRAG chairperson Caroline Parker (centre) celebrates their success over Patersons Quarries with campaigners by the removal by chainsaw of the campaign sign in the grounds of Arthur Bells (far left) property in Coulter'16/10/10'Picture by Lindsay Addison
CRAG chairperson Caroline Parker (centre) celebrates their success over Patersons Quarries with campaigners by the removal by chainsaw of the campaign sign in the grounds of Arthur Bells (far left) property in Coulter'16/10/10'Picture by Lindsay Addison
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THE fight to stop a sand and gravel quarry near Lamington is set to begin again just six months after the original plan was thrown out.

Patersons of Greenoakhill have submitted a pre-application notice to carry out consultation with the community and statutory bodies in anticipation of submitting another formal planning application at Overburns Farm.

The original planning application was rejected in July last year after a long campaign by the Clyde River Action Group (CRAG).

CRAG chairwoman Caroline Parker said: “Everybody is appauled at Patersons coming back so quickly after they were overwhelmingly defeated last July.

“It is inconceivable that Patersons should be allowed to extract sand and gravel on a flood plain. The only people that will gain from this are Patersons and the landowner to the detriment of the local community and in particular the beautiful River Clyde.”

The campaign to stop the quarry at Overburns Farm came to a head last July when South Lanarkshire councillors threw out Patersons’ planning application.

A total of 393 individual letters of objection were lodged while a further 58 objection letters were received from people who regularly fish in the River Clyde.

Symington and Duneaton Community Councils also objected as did Scottish Natural Heritage, SEPA, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Transport Scotland.

The Gazette contacted Patersons to discuss the new application.

A spokesman said: “As part of the new application process there is a requirement that we have to host a public event, which will take place towards the end of February.

“A venue and time have still to be confirmed but at the moment it is likely that it will be in Lamington Village Hall.”

The spokesman also confirmed that the earliest a full planning application could be submitted would be the end of April.

Politicians from all sides of the political divide opposed the original application.

Clydesdale MSP Karen Gillon, her Holyrood colleagues Jim Hume and Aileen Campbell and rural Clydesdale MP David Mundell all opposed Patersons’ plans as did MEPs David Martin and Struan Stevenson. This time around they look set to do the same.

Karen Gillon said: “This is the second time around for Patersons but the evidence remains the same. This is the wrong site for this type of development.

“It is clear from the previous application that a development would have a catastrophic impact on the River Clyde and the surrounding environment. Patersons had more than enough time to provide the information and evidence to support their application last time around yet they simply failed to do so.

“In resubmitting this application Patersons will simply cause worry and concern.

“However, I remain confident that common sense will prevail.”

David Mundell agreed, saying: “I am disappointed that once again Patersons has submitted a new application when local people have said very clearly that they do not want it, and they have demonstrated to the planning authorities that it would have a negative impact on the local environment.

“The Clyde River Action Group fought a successful local campaign to stop it and I know they will continue their work, for which they have my full support.”

A survey carried out by Aileen Campbell stated that 89 per cent of respondents were against Patersons’ proposals.

She said: “The council rightly rejected Patersons’ application and I hope they will once again listen to local opinion.

“I will be working closely with the local community and CRAG to ensure a quarry does not go ahead at Overburns.”

Chairman of Biggar and District Civic Society, fellow CRAG member Arthur Bell, was also unimpressed by the proposal.

He said: “Dust and noise, fumes and death of wildlife, a hole bigger than Biggar, road safety and pollution – these were amongst the reasons for the democratic defeat by councillors who listened.

“This company wants to rape some of South Lanarkshire’s loveliest countryside.

“Not content with stirring up anger in communities it doesn’t know or care about, in a way I’ve never seen in over 40 years experience, it seems unable to get the simple message.

“We who live here do NOT want any company with an environmental record like Patersons coming here and taking away millions of tonnes of the banks of the Clyde.”