A planning application for a quarry to be set up to the south of Ashton Keynes has been refused by Wiltshire Council.

Earthline's application requested permission for the extraction of 470,000 tonnes of sand and gravel over six years.

The work was proposed on a site of 27.2 hectares in size and included fields to the east of the High Road to Ashton Keynes, as well as fields to the west of the High Road across to the B4696 Ashton Road where the processing plant was to be located.

A previous planning application for mineral extraction and restoration was already refused on the same site in 2022.

The most recent proposal reduced the level of and period of extraction by two years.

Ashton Keynes Parish Council, Leigh Parish Council and South Cerney Parish Council objected to the application.

The objection from Ashton Keynes Parish Council stated: “The presence of a quarry the size of the village, close to properties on the southern boundary, providing limited aggregate of poor quality, plus nine years of construction waste infill, will be a massive detriment to the village.

“The impact on the local ecology and biodiversity is profound with a substantial loss of rich habitation over the whole area for the nine years of operation followed permanently on restoration by a major change to agricultural land over two-thirds of the area.

“There are significant risks to rare breeds such as voles, bats, both protected species, and egrets.”

Wiltshire Council received 249 further comments of objection and concern, as well as a petition of 88 signatures objecting to the quarry.

The application argued: “Given the current sand and gravel landbank situation in the county, this planning application should be determined at the earliest opportunity to allow extraction and restoration to commence.

“Doing so will help to secure a continued local supply of building material for planned construction projects in the locality and avoid the need to transport from outside the county.”

Wiltshire Council decided planning permission should be refused for a number of reasons, including the impact on biodiversity, a lack of adequate mitigation for noise and dust levels, and a failure to provide a satisfactory restoration scheme to maintain the environment.

The case officer report concluded: “The application demonstrates there is a need for the development and that the site is located within an identified Mineral Resource Zone but does not demonstrate that this is a suitable location within this zone.”