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Plans for former Whiston quarry to go on public display

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 11, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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RENEWED plans to redevelop a former quarry into a leisure complex are to go on public show next week.

Laver Leisure has announced plans for an exhibition of revised proposals for Moneystone Quarry, near Whiston.

In 2011 Laver Leisure purchased the site from Sibelco after quarrying operations ended.

At the time Laver Leisure undertook public consultation on initial thoughts for the redevelopment of the site, and following feedback has now worked up a substantially revised scheme.

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The site has recently been identified as a major opportunity a for leisure development in the Churnet Valley Masterplan by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.

The proposed leisure development will still provide a range of facilities that would be open to the local community, including cycling, climbing and other sports, a network of nature trails, bridleways and footpaths. There will also be a number of holiday lodges to enable overnight and longer stays.

However, following community feedback the plans have been scaled back and certain elements have been removed.

In line with the Churnet Valley Masterplan, Laver Leisure is now proposing 250 holiday lodges instead of 650, and is no longer proposing any new houses or space for touring caravans.

Peter Swallow of Laver Leisure said: "What we are now proposing for Moneystone Quarry is much reduced in scale to the previous proposals, but still delivers an excellent opportunity for a sensitive development which will bring much needed new jobs to the area.

"One of the main issues within the wider area is the quality and availability of overnight accommodation. Only a small percentage of those who visit the area stay overnight.

"Tourism is vitally important to the economic future of the area, because visitors who stay overnight spend money locally.

"Our proposals for 250 lodges will help to fill the gap in provision and will bring major benefits to the area.

"The public exhibition will give people the opportunity to view the proposals before we submit a planning application.

"Following the previous round of consultation we have made significant changes to the proposals. We hope that people will come along to the exhibition and see the plans for themselves."

The public consultation event will be held on Tuesday, July 15, between 3pm and 7pm at Whiston Village Hall.

Laver Leisure's development team will be present to explain the proposals, answer any questions and take feedback from local residents.

Proposals to build a solar farm on part of the former quarry also went on public display last month.

The Solar Building Company Limited, based in Monmouth, outlined its plans to install 32 acres (13 hectares0 of panels, which would generate around 8.5 MWp of electricity, the equivalent of enough energy to power more than 1,820 homes.

The fate of the quarry, which was owned by Sibelco UK and had been operational for more than 50 years, was sealed in August 2007 after expansion plans were thrown out.

Silica sand extraction at the site, which covers 420 acres, came to end in 2010 and the premises closed in 2011 with the loss of 70 jobs.

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