PLANS for a controversial quarry extension near Thornborough Henges have been thrown into disarray following a legal challenge.
Tarmac Northern won planning permission in January 2007 from North Yorkshire County Council to extract 1.1 million tonnes of sand and gravel over eight years from land at Ladybridge Farm, between Bedale and Ripon, half a mile from the nearest of three Bronze Age earthwork henges on Thornborough Moor.
Tarmac said the unanimous decision would ensure the future prospects of 15 full-time quarry workers and 40 hauliers at the neighbouring Nosterfield quarry, where reserves are almost exhausted.
The henges, described as the Stonehenge of the North, have legal protection as a scheduled ancient monument but worried campaigners who organised a 10,000-name petition insisted that their surroundings, including Ladybridge, must be protected from the effects of further quarrying.
The formal decision notice was not issued until October following completion of a detailed agreement with Tarmac covering conditions attached to the permission.
However, council lawyers have now confirmed that it should be quashed following a legal challenge on eight grounds concerning the handling of the planning application. The issue is expected to be reconsidered by the committee at Masham Town Hall on April 22.