Couple who spent 20 years restoring six-bedroom manor house fight plans for quarry 100m away

Barbara and Simon Campbell with daughters Meghan and Rosie outside their lovingly-restored grade II-listed home. (SWNS)

A couple who spent 20 years restoring a Grade II-listed, six bedroom manor house are locked in a planning dispute - over plans to build a quarry next to their dream home.

Barbara and Simon Campbell purchased the 16th century derelict property at an auction for £270,000 in 1999.

They spent the next two decades lovingly renovating the house in Sudbrook, Grantham, Lincs, to its former glory.

But having raised children Megan and Rosie, both 23, and son Alasdair, 21, at their luxury village home, the Campbells have now discovered council bosses are set to approve plans for a giant quarry site less than 100 metres from their land.

The Campbells bought the derelict property in 1999 and have restored it to its former glory. (SWNS)

The quarry, which will extract one million tonnes of sand, could get approval thanks to a planning permission dating back to 1954, which they were not made aware of when they bought the historic building.

Barbara, 54, and Simon, 57, are now desperately trying to stop the development, but say their concerns have all been dismissed as the council ‘railroad’ the decision through.

They fear the 60-year-old loophole which allowed the quarry development could drastically affect the value of their painstakingly-restored property.

Barbara and Simon Campbell bought the 16th century property for £270,000. (SWNS)
The Campbell's grade II listed home (foreground), where planning permission for a quarry (background) has been granted. (SWNS)

Mrs Campbell said: "Everything has been hunky-dory for the last 15 years, this property was a labour of love and it's basically become our family home.

“We then discovered that field next to us has got dormant planning permission for a quarry, we couldn't quite believe it.

“The whole site has been covered by two original planning applications, one dating back to 1954 and the other from 1967, which we knew nothing about.

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“The fact that this was effectively an existing quarry should have been available to us at the time we bought the property.

“We can't go back and question what was agreed and legitimised at the time. It's the unfairness of this and the lack of transparency that really galls us.

“Had we known in 1999 when we bought this property that this was a risk, we could have certainly made an informed choice about whether to invest in our dream home or not.”

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Lincolnshire County Council along with Irish company Tamar Selby Group Ltd have the power to open the quarry under Review of Old Mineral Permissions (ROMP) legislation.

The Campbells say at no point were they made aware of its ROMP status.

Campbell added: “Technically, it cannot be refused. The planning application being discussed currently isn't whether the quarry can open, it’s to agree on the planning standards it will operate under.

The area near to the Campbell's home where planning permission for the quarry has been granted. (SWNS)

“Because permission has already been given, if the council refused permission for any reason or try and stop it, the operator is free to claim compensation from them.

“We just find it absolutely staggering that you could buy a home and not realise that you've got permission for a quarry.

"I don’t know how much our house is now worth but it will be worth a lot less if there is a quarry next to it.

“In quarry terms, it's tiny, but the impact is huge. It's hard to imagine that this could possibly be viable.”

The couple say they do not know what their home - which dates back to 1590 - is now worth, but other properties in the nearby area are valued, on average, at over £350,000.

A public consultation has been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown and residents were given 30 days on April 30 to lodge their final appeals.

Neil McBride, head of planning at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "The quarry on Rookery Lane has had planning permission since the 1950s.

"We have, and we will continue to engage with local residents, local highways teams, public health and the environment agency, amongst others, to find the most acceptable and sophisticated planning conditions for the site to reopen, so disruption to the neighbouring properties, residents and the environment is kept to a minimum.

"We are currently in a consultation period, and whilst this has set a timeframe, we will be welcoming comments up until the application is put before our planning committee in the Autumn."