Quarry to be given to village

EXCITING plans to give a defunct quarry to the people of Backwell are one step closer to reality.

Coles Quarry, in Cheston Coombe, would be filled in to form a sports field, possibly with a small pavilion and a 40-space drop-off car park, and rear pedestrian access for Backwell Junior School would be created.

Villagers at a parish meeting on April 26 heard the remaining 66 acres would be donated to Backwell Environment Trust for use as a nature reserve.

Existing dilapidated buildings, which used to be the bagging works but have more recently become a target for vandals, will be replaced by business units exclusively for village firms.

The scheme will be funded by developers paying to dump their soil and stones to fill in the lower quarry hole and by a telephone company, which already pays �5,000 a year for a mast at the site.

The Times reported last July that developer Lancer Scott was hoping to submit a planning application to North Somerset Council by the end of August.

However delays have forced revamped proposals for the 74-acre site off Dark Lane, to be revealed by planning agent Fred Malton to drum-up public support.

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He said: “People have been very enthusiastic about the ideas.

“The owner wants to give something back to the community in the form of a recreation area, which will be firstly offered to the junior school, so it’s more than just a commercial use of a brown field site.”

Roger Ellams of Bristol-based architects Angus Meek said: “At the moment the site is an anomaly because it’s within green belt land, but it is 74 acres of old quarry.

“It is quite exciting because we are taking an old quarry and doing something useful and creative with it, which will then be given to the people of Backwell.”

A road leading to and from the neighbouring recycling centre will also be widened for turning lorries.

Mr Malton said the buildings would potentially create 350 new jobs and would cut the need for local firms to commute from Bristol and Weston.

He added the only disadvantage would be lorries will need to access the site for up to three years before the hole is filled.