Dust fears for neighbours of Whitburn quarry

Crushing issue's at Marsden Quarry. Ronnie and wife Lydia Fenwick.
Crushing issue's at Marsden Quarry. Ronnie and wife Lydia Fenwick.
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A FED-up pensioner who claims a quarry has blighted his family’s life for decades has urged councillors to block plans for an extension.

Members of South Tyneside Council’s planning committee have deferred an application from Marsden Quarry owners Owen Pugh to crush and recycle construction waste for export from the site.

But the bid, which would involve the crushing of bricks, has alarmed some residents living near the quarry on the Coast Road, Whitburn.

Resident Ronald Fenwick, 69, of Mill Lane in the village, hopes the committee will bury the application.

Mr Fenwick, who has lived beside the quarry for 40 years, says the project will only exacerbate problems that exist with dust from the facility.

He blames the dust for the asthma suffered by his 67-year-old wife Lydia, adding: “It’s been extension after extension, and the hole just gets bigger and bigger.

“They can’t control the limestone dust that is coming out now; what is the chance of them doing so when concrete and bricks are being crushed?

“We have sought medical advice for my wife’s asthma. We don’t have any pets, no dogs or cats. We have been advised she should avoid dust. How can we do that when we are living here?”

Mr Fenwick says that after 140 years it is time for the quarry to cease operating.

He added: “This is a leisure area and the quarry is beside National Trust land, a caravan site, a primary school. Bikers and walkers pass by it. This application has got to be stopped.”

A spokesman for Owen Pugh said the quarry employs 26 workers, with the new facility set to create a further three posts.

He added: “The crushers will have sprayers and no additional dust will be created.

“The amount of dust emissions has been drastically reduced over the last 18 months and blasting has ceased completely.”

But councillors expressed concerns at the level of dust emanating from the site.

Labour Coun Eileen Leask said she had organised the cleaning of gulleys between the Marsden Inn and the Coast Road – and blamed the quarry for causing the problem.

And, in calling for a full review, Progressive Coun Jim Capstick said it was time the council “faced up” to the problems at the quarry.

He said: “We have tampered with it, but not faced up to it. There must be an alternative.

“It has been the bane of people’s lives for years and we need to get to the core of the problem.”

Members recommended that a full report on the quarry operation be presented to a future meeting.