Plans for explosives storage site in Great Ouseburn facing refusal

Lightmire Lane where the storage site could be built, credit Google
Lightmire Lane where the storage site could be built, credit Google

A revised plan for an explosives and ammonium nitrate storage site in Great Ouseburn could be turned down over the potential impact to roads and surrounding landscape.

Brexco Ltd’s application to change the use of agricultural land on Lightmire Lane goes before Harrogate Borough Council Planning Committee next week (Tuesday, February 20), council planners have recommended it not be approved.

More than 140 objections have been lodged against the application, including from Great Ouseburn Parish Council. Chairman Keith Scott says they are concerned over the potential increase of traffic and scale of the buildings.

He said: “This is a site that could have a six meter building on it for the storage of ammonium nitrate. At the same time this a flat landscape and not something that you can plant trees around to make up for.

“In the application it is also making out as if hardly anyone is using the roads, but that is just not true. They are used by at least 100 people every day even during winter. Some people are walking along the whole way to Upper Dunsforth.

“Our Village Hall is on the same road and I know the school has also objected because of the potential increase in traffic.”

He added: “We are hoping that it won’t go further forward and we plan to speak at the planning committee to raise details that have not been flagged such as the use of the road and the impact of extra lorries.”

North Yorkshire County Council Highways has objected to the plans, saying that it believes the roads are not suitable for traffic generated by the site.

Governors at Great Ouseburn Primary School objected to the application, saying that pupils use the Village Hall for activities and that the village’s roads are unsuitable for commercial vehicles.

John Allen wrote on their behalf: “Carr Side lane in particular is wholly unsuitable for large commercial vehicles. It is narrow, residential at the eastern end, has on-street parking and bends making it difficult for even small cars to negotiate. Lightmire Lane is a single track road, currently with occasional vehicular use only. It is not suitable for commercial traffic.”

In a report to the planning committee council officers say they have found ‘no local economic benefits’ and that ‘environmental harm’ would be caused by the design and isolated location. It also said that the vehicles required for the site would be ‘to the detriment’ of highway safety.

In their planning statement Brexco Ltd says it is one of the UK’s main suppliers of explosives, it previously tried to secure approval for change of use in 2016.

This application was withdrawn after planning officers raised similar concerns, it says it used the following 12 months to show the ‘difficulty of finding a suitable site’.

Government Planning Policy Framework means that among other conditions the facility has to be in open countryside. The company included a map of the district with 11 other locations, including land at Allerton Park, in its current application that would not have been suitable.

If approved the company will store detonators and materials ‘only combustible if mixed with other materials before use’. It says that due storage limits at ports, the majority of the UK’s explosives being imported from Central Europe, it is difficult to maintain supply across the UK to meet demand.

Mining operations and other industries which need explosives can experience delays because of a lack of stock, according to the company.

Their planning statement says: “If insufficient raw materials are provided to industries within the UK, then the price of the raw materials increases. In turn, this can lead to an increase in the price of the finished goods, which then impacts on the general economy as goods are more expensive to purchase. This means imports can be cheaper and our exports more expensive.

The company have declined to comment when approached by The Advertiser.