Over Wyre resident standing for council to oppose controversial quarry plans

An Over Wyre woman has decided to stand as a councillor to help combat controversial plans to set up a quarry in Preesall.

By Richard Hunt
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 5:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 5:05 pm

Independent candidate Collette Rushforth said she was standing in the Preesall by-election this month, primarily to oppose the quarry proposals.

The poll takes place on Thursday August 18 in order to fill the vacancy of the Preesall ward seat on Wyre Council, following the resignation of Coun Andrew Cropper.

There are three other candidates standing in the election – William Jackson (Labour), Steven Taylor-Royston (Conservative) and Gary Wright (independent).

Collette Rushforth is among the candidates in the Preesall by-election

A hustings event is being staged this week to give voters a chance to meet the candidates and question them on key topics, and takes place at St Oswald’s Church on Friday (August 5), beginning at 7pm.

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The election comes at a time when there is unrest in the village over the controversial plans to set up a quarry on land at Bourbles Farm.

The project would entail the removal of an estimated 460,000 tonnes of sand and gravel and the insertion of 300,000 tonnes of tested soil, clay and hardcore.

The quarry proposals have been put forward by Callum Baxter, a director with family building firm Baxter Homes Ltd, who is also a Conservative councillor on Wyre Council for the Victoria and Norcross ward in Cleveleys.

A campaign group has been set up on Facebook, Preesall and Knott End Against Quarry Application, which now has more than 2,000 members.

Mum-of-two Mrs Rushforth, 61, said: “I first put down roots here in 1996 and it really is a beautiful area.

"We have issues here such as road quality, health centre waiting times, dental provision and anti-social behaviour.

"However, my main concern is the proposed quarry – this site is too close to residents.

“I believe it will be totally detrimental to the health, wealth and wellbeing of the community, with real concerns over silica dust associated with this kind of project.”

Mr Baxter argues that there is a need for the sand and gravel amenities in Lancashire and says he is keen to work with the community to put people’s minds at rest.

He has applied to Lancashire Council for approval for a scoping document which would enable exploratory work to be undertaken on the site, prior to any full planning application.