A GLOBAL building materials firm is set to be given the green light to continue digging sand in Sandiway for five years.

Cemex has permission to run Forest Hill Quarry, south of the Mid Cheshire Line, until May 2021.

But at a planning committee meeting next Tuesday, Cheshire West and Chester Council is expected to give the all-clear for the firm to extract another 350,000 tonnes of soft sand from an extension on the other side of the railway.

If approved, that will take place over a five-year period.

Cemex is due to restore the part of the site it currently uses once it runs out of sand there – which is expected to be before next May.

Cemex says that the extension should not result in any extra lorry movements and its hours of operation would be the same as the current ones.

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Lorries would continue to access the quarry from the A556, to the south of the railway line, and sand will be transported along an existing tunnel underneath from the north.

CWAC officers are recommending the scheme for approval, while Weaverham and Cuddington parish councils did not object to the scheme, subject to conditions including the site's restoration after use.

In a report, CWAC officers said: "The proposed development is an extension to an existing operating sand quarry and would provide a supply of sand to meet an ongoing national and local need.

"Other benefits include the restoration of the site to nature conservation and farmland, with habitats created that are priority habitats that would support a large number of species."

In a statement issued to CWAC, Cemex says there are ‘no reasonable alternatives’ to sand and gravel for the construction industry – and that the soft sand from Forest Hill will be crucial to help build new homes in the borough.