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Seeing red might help quarry's extension plan.

Byline: Brian Daniel North Northumberland reporter

OWNERS of a Northumberland quarry which supplied stone fit for Royalty are seeking an extension to dig on into the future.

Lafarge Tarmac owns Harden Quarry at Biddlestone, near Rothbury, producers of "unique" red stone which was used on the grounds of Buckingham Palace and The Mall to its front.

The company is now seeking to dig a further 1.1m tonnes of Harden red and to continue working the site until 2029.

A local councillor last night voiced support for the bid, welcoming the prospect of continued employment, but called on bosses to invest more in the area's road network.

The company has submitted a scoping report to Northumberland County Council.

It tells how the presence of Harden red "has been proved below the base of the existing quarry excavations."

It adds: "Further workings would be subject to a new permission for a vertical extension (downwards) if granted...

"This would allow extraction of approximately a further 1.1m tonnes of rock over 15 years, at a maximum production rate of 150,000 tonnes per year."

Last night, county councillor for Rothbury Steven Bridgett said: "I will be supporting it.

"I want to see a bigger contribution towards the roads particularly the C172 between Netherton and Whittingham which is the road that is used for taking the gravel out of Coquetdale.

"I think it is a good thing, the quarry employs a lot of local people, not just people directly but also employs a lot of people and local businesses within the local supply chain.

"I have got a few quarries that operate in my area and this is one of the better operated quarries.

"I am in full support. They are not a bad company to have operating in our area."

He cited the quarry operator giving money towards the extension of nearby Netherton First School as well as other community projects.

The company's scoping report adds: "The Harden redstone produced from this quarry is a unique product, with respect to the combination of its colour and physical characteristics.

"These unique characteristics have resulted in quarry products being exported over a wide area in the UK, Europe and certain markets throughout the world. "Harden redstone is also an important feature of the local built environment of surrounding towns, villages, farms and stately homes, such as at Cragside."

It continues: "The stone quarried at Harden was formed approximately 390 million years ago, when magma from deep underground was forced up into the surrounding andesitic rocks, forming a thick blister-like intrusion of mica-porphyrite, which is now commonly called Harden red.

"There are no other deposits of a similar geology within the locality, therefore, the outcrop represents a finite resource...

"The extraction of the Harden redstone is in the public interest, as it is a unique material, providing an important contribution to the built environment of the locality, and has many specialist uses, which also serves a wider export market."

Lafarge Tarmac failed to provide a comment.


The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, which was lined with stone from >Harden Quarry

Harden Quarry where plans are being made to dig into the future

Terry Walsh
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 13, 2014
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