PLANS have been submitted to extend operations at a quarry for a further two years.

Forest Hill Quarry on Chester Road, Sandiway, had been granted permission to excavate sand on land near Norley Road back in 2014, with that permission due to expire in May and restoration work then set to take place over the following 12 months.

But its owner, building materials firm Cemex, now wants to extend that until December 2023, citing fluctuating market demand during the pandemic, flooding, and issues with the quality of the extracted material.

The quarry has been up and running since the 70s and multiple sites have been excavated and restored during that time.

A report to the council’s planning committee, said: “There is currently approximately 170,000 tonnes of sand remaining within the application site.

“The current rate of extraction and processing are approximately 75,000 tonnes per annum.

“However, the mineral has been variable in quantity and quality and the amount remaining may be considerably less than estimated.”

The 14 hectare application site encompasses the existing central office area, weighbridge, haul road and western mineral extraction area which is currently being worked and falls within the Green Belt.

If approved, the site would continue to employ three full time staff along with between three and five contractors.

The report added: “Market demand has also fluctuated due to the Covid-19 pandemic and issues with the quality of the mineral in certain places has resulted in the site not being worked in accordance with the phasing plans and has taken longer to extract.

“Too small grain size and thick pockets of clay along with no sand in areas has added to the situation.

“Production has also been delayed due to flooding and phases could not be followed which has also impacted upon the phased restoration.”

The committee is expected to approve the extension subject to conditions when it meets next Tuesday, October 5.

Plans to excavate on a different part of the site were approved in August last year.