Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK, part of the world’s largest building materials group, is entering the final phase of restoration at it’s Whitlingham Quarry, after 20 years of responsible mineral extraction.
The site, to the South East of Norwich, has been operated by the company since 1990 and has produced on average some 200,000 tonnes of sand and gravel each year for the local market. Projects supplied during this time include: the Norwich Southern By-Pass, Castle Mall Shopping Centre and the Millennium Library.
As part of Lafarge’s commitment to responsible restoration much of the quarry has been progressively restored creating the award-winning Whitlingham Country Park, managed by the Whitlingham Charitable Trust. The first phase of this restoration, Whitlingham ‘Little Broad’, is a 4-hectare lake, which was completed and handed back to the Trust in 1997. It now provides a training facility for windsurfing, dinghy sailing and scuba diving. The ‘Main Broad’, which was completed and handed over to the Whitlingham Charitable Trust, created a 1500-metre-long rowing course, along with facilities for other water sports such as canoeing, windsurfing and sailing together with a wildlife conservation area. The Broads Authority who manage the Country Park are enjoying ever increasing numbers of visitors.
The final phase of the restoration is now nearing completion with the creation of the third and final broad, at Thorpe Marsh, to create ‘Thorpe Broad’, to the North side of the River Yare. The restoration of this part of the quarry will provide for nature conservation, including bird hides and permissive footpaths. It is hoped this broad can be handed over by The Whitlingham Charitable Trust and managed by Thorpe Town Council.
Since ceasing operations at Whitlingham and opening the new Mangreen Quarry, Swardeston off the A140, to serve the local construction and DIY market, Lafarge has been dismantling their processing facilities off Whitlingham Lane and will shortly be submitting a planning application for the restoration of this part of the site.
This application, which will go to the Broads Authority, will seek to restore the site to provide:
Additional parking for the Whitlingham Country Park, including a safe coach drop-off point
An new access road providing an alternative route to the Country Park for special events from Kirby Road he construction of a basic Agricultural stores building In addition, the reconstruction of Whitlingham Lane is also scheduled to take place in 2010 which will then provide excellent access through the Park.
Colin Ellis, Quarry Manager of Lafarge’s new Mangreen Quarry, who managed Lafarge’s operations at Whitlingham said: “It’s very exciting to be getting to this stage in the restoration at Whitlingham. We are exceptional proud of our achievements, and our work with local organisations, to help to create and fund the Whitlingham Country Park. These additional and final phases of restoration will create something which generations to come will enjoy. The work at our former processing plant, across the road from the Main Broad and Visitor Centre, will greatly benefit the Country Park and will complete this award-winning example of quarry restoration.”