New quarry wins approval despite Banknock residents protest

Banknock residents held a final protest against the Tomfyne proposals on Tuesday
Banknock residents held a final protest against the Tomfyne proposals on Tuesday

Residents are braced for a resumption of quarrying near their homes after a new development was granted planning approval.

North Lanarkshire Council backed proposals on Tuesday for Aggregate Industries to begin stone extraction at Tomfyne, near Banknock and just a short distance from the Falkirk Council boundary.

Neighbours in Coneypark, the area of Banknock closest to the new quarry, opposed the plans after enduring years of dust and noise pollution caused by the now-closed Cowdenhill Quarry, operated by Skene.

Dan Henderson, secretary of Banknock Community Council, said he hoped Aggregate would operate Tomfyne to a higher standard.

“I am not surprised the new quarry was granted approval. North Lanarkshire council officers had moved for approval and in the end it was backed 7-2 by councillors.

“Although Tomfyne is further from Coneypark than Cowdenhill, lorries going to and from the site will have to use the same access road.

“In fairness to Aggregate, they have been very open and honest with the community about their plans and I hope that dialogue will continue.”

Councillor Brian McCabe, whose ward includes Banknock, argued that the main access road to any Tomfyne quarry should be Mailings Road in Banton, but this was rejected.

He said: “There have been horrendous problems with the operation of Cowdenhill, which leave Banknock residents extremely concerned we will see a return to traffic and air quality problems.”

Ian Waddell, Aggregate’s regional director for Scotland, said: “We are naturally pleased that we have been granted the planning permission to open the quarry at Tomfyne.

“As the economy gradually picks up, there is a growing demand for building materials. We’re pleased that the members have recognised this, and the benefits we bring to the local community.”

“We’re proud of our continued commitment to working with local communities in areas where we operate and Tomfyne will be no different.”