ONE of the most objected-to planning applications in years has been refused by Bradford Council.

Almost 900 people lodged their opposition to a scheme to reopen Horn Crag Quarry at Silsden, plans that would have seen 520,000 tonnes of Yorkshire Stone taken from the site.

Now planning officers have rejected the application, saying the proposals were "not acceptable in an area of distinct character".

They also raised concerns about the quarry’s potential impact on water supplies in the area.

AD Calvert Architectural Stone Supplies had first applied for planning permission to reopen the 5.9-hectare green belt site as a quarry last year.

The application was eventually withdrawn, but re-emerged earlier this year.

AD Calvert argues that the stone which would be quarried is vital for the maintenance and restoration of stone-built structures, saying there is a “demonstrable need” for it.

The applicant said there would be a maximum of ten HGV movements a day, and that the site would be restored once all the stone was extracted.

But 891 people submitted objections to Bradford Council. Fifty-one people wrote in support.

Objectors said the area’s roads were unsuitable for HGVs, and that the scheme would damage the environment and impact local wildlife.

The Environment Agency was also amongst the objectors.

It said: “The applicant has not supplied adequate information to demonstrate that the risks posed to groundwater can be satisfactorily managed.”

Refusing the scheme, planning officers said: “For such a proposal to be acceptable it needs to be demonstrated that it will not have an unacceptable impact on people or the environment in terms of pollution, flooding or land stability risks, or harm to amenity, heritage assets or their settings, or harm the character of the landscape.

“It is evident the application does have a number of unacceptable adverse impacts, including on the character of the landscape, biodiversity, people, the environment, water, amenity, tourism and recreation."

Officers also questioned why the particular site was so vital to the supply of Yorkshire Stone.

They said: “Although it is accepted there is a need for high-quality dimension stone and walling stone, and that it is preferable that it's locally sourced, it should be noted that the stone is not a scarce mineral. It can be sourced from other quarries within the Bradford district/West Yorkshire and it is arguable there are areas within the Bradford district that are more suitable/sustainable to provide such stone.”

* Residents opposed to the scheme are going ahead with a planned mass ramble tomorrow (May 29).

People are asked to wear red and meet at Silsden bandstand at 1pm, to walk together to Horn Crag.

"We want to show solidarity for nature and the local environment," said a spokesperson.

People are welcome to take refreshments. Any dogs should be kept on leads.