An asphalt production plant would have a “catastrophic impact” on Ryedale’s £20 million horse racing industry if it was built.
That was the warning from protestors at last week’s meeting of Ryedale District Council’s Planning Committee when councillors were asked to give feedback on the proposed development of Whitewall Quarry in Norton.
Around 100 people applauded when committee members unanimously made a recommendation against supporting the plans from quarry operator W Clifford Watts.
Now their attention turns to County Hall, Northallerton, on Tuesday, when North Yorkshire County Council will decide whether to grant planning permission for the asphalt production plant and five aggregate storage bins.
Residents in Norton, including Cllr Luke Ives and campaigners with the Norton Action Group, have vociferously campaigned against the controversial plans which they argue will lead to pollution and a dramatic rise in the number of HGV wagons on Norton’s road network, among other issues.
It would also have a detrimental impact on the horse racing industry, believes trainer Fiona Campion.
“The quarry is right on top of the hub of the racing industry in Malton and Norton,” she told the committee. “The racing industry and the wider community share deep concerns about the emissions, traffic and congestion caused by the HGVs, operating hours, odours, noise, need and location.
“The very existence of this application, due to the lack of pre-consultation, is unnecessary, unwelcome and a damaging pressure on a highly sensitive key part of the fabric of Malton and Norton that we neither asked for or deserve.”
Reports from the National Training Federation and Malton Racing Association backed up her claims about the impact on the industry which employs around 200 people and is worth £20 million a year.
Cllr Caroline Goodrick, the deputy leader of Ryedale District Council, said: “Trainers work very hard to attract owners to bring their horses here to train. Something like this could turn them away.
“The economic impact of something like this will be huge if owners stop bringing their horses. It would leave a significant black mark if we let this go ahead.”