Angry residents slam quarry boss
9:16am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
ANGRY residents have accused a businessman of handing out “bribes” in a bid to keep a controversial quarry open for longer.
More than 100 people joined a packed and heated Bradshaw Area Forum meeting on Wednesday night, when quarry boss Matthew Booth spoke to residents about their concerns.
Mr Booth, the managing director of Booths Ventures, wants to extend Harwood Quarry’s operations for another 15 years and increase its size.
Emotions were running high after The Bolton News revealed Booths Ventures was offering nearby Brookfield Lane residents £2,000 per year in compensation on the condition that they did not object to the plans.
Councillors and some of residents struggled to maintain order at some points as speakers shouted and talked over each other during a lively debate.
And residents responded with boos and snorts of derision when they were told that bricks that had been left in the road had been thrown there by drivers.
Residents said they believed the bricks had fallen off HGVs going in and out of the quarry, but Mr Booth said his drivers told him that people had been throwing them out of their car windows.
A Longsight Road resident said: “The highways are saying it’s acceptable to leave slurry in the road.
“I believe you have offered compensation or bribes, Mr Booth.
“What compensation have we got when we park our cars then half an hour later we find it lathered (in slurry) on one side?”
Residents also raised concern about children’s safety because of vehicles travelling to and from the site during school opening and closing hours.
They also complained of vehicles forcing them off the road and dust in their homes .
Mr Booth told residents a new wheel wash system with 40 jets would make things “dramatically better”.
He also said further restrictions on vehicle movements would result in the work taking an extra 10 to 15 years.
Mr Booth said: “The system we have is perfectly adequate. There’s a gap between what people think is acceptable and what is acceptable by law.”
More than 300 people have written to object to the plans, which will be decided by Bolton Council ’s planning committee in either October or November.