Quarry Feasibility Proposal - PDF

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1.1 The organisations involved
The North Wales Wildlife Trust (NWWT) is one of a partnership of 47                  Head Office:
Wildlife Trusts across the UK and one of the six Wildlife Trusts in                  376 High Street Bangor
Wales. Our vision is 'an environment richer in wildlife for everyone'.               Gwynedd LL57 1YE
                                                                                     Phone: 01248-351541
Collectively the Wildlife Trusts Partnership is the largest UK charity               Fax: 01248-353192
dedicated exclusively to conserving all our habitats and species, with a
membership of more than 600,000 people including 100,000 junior                      Prif Swyddfa:

members.                                                                             376 Stryd Fawr, Bangor,
                                                                                     Gwynedd, LL57 1YE
                                                                                     Ffôn: 01248 351541
The NWWT campaigns for the protection of wildlife and helps people                   Ffacs: 01248 353192

of all ages to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of wildlife.            e-mail:
In North Wales we manage over 33 nature reserves and have over                       nwwt@wildlifetrustswales.org
6000 members. The North Wales Wildlife Trust has had an interest in                  www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/northwales
Minera Quarry for many years and wish to develop opportunities to
secure appropriate management for the site into the long-term to                     North East Office:
                                                                                     Loggerheads Country Park,
preserve its importance as a wildlife haven.                                         Nr Mold,
                                                                                     Denbighshire, CH7 5LH
The Minera Quarry Trust was established in 2005 with the explicit aim                Phone/Fax: 01352 810469

of conserving the former quarry site for the benefit of the public. Since
                                                                                     Swyddfa Gogledd Dwyrain:
then it has made significant progress in developing a plan of action for             Parc Gwledig Loggerheads
the site that encompasses both short-term improvements and long-                     Ger y Wyddgrug
term sustainability for the site.                                                    Sir Ddinbych, CH7 5LH
                                                                                     Ffôn/Ffacs: 01352 810469

These two organisations have joined forces to progress the                           e-mail:

regeneration of Minera Quarry.

1.2 Minera Quarry
This disused quarry is approximately six km west of Wrexham, close to
the communities of Minera, New Brighton, Gwynfryn and Bwlchgwyn.
The site has been associated with the extraction of limestone for over
200 years and passed into the ownership of Redland Aggregates (now
Lafarge) in the early 1990’s. Operations ceased at the quarry in 1994.
Minera Quarry is now a prominent and distinctive location of ecological,
geological, historical and recreational importance.                                  NWWT is a registered charity
                                                                                     no. 230772 and a company
                                                                                     limited by guarantee no.
Since the cessation of operations, parts of the site have regenerated                773995.

naturally and now form part of the Ruabon, Llantysilio and Minera Site               Mae YNGC yn elusen
of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Berwyn and South Clwyd                 gofrestredig rhif230772 ac yn
                                                                                     gwmni cyfyngedig rhif 773995.
Mountain Special Area of Conservation (SAC), supporting rare and
threatened habitats and species.

                                                                   Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                                    Protecting Wildlife for the Future
The site is also of great importance with regard to industrial heritage
and with structures with banks of disused lime kilns, and the Hoffmann
Kiln complex, both ‘Scheduled Ancient Monuments’, as well as disused
railway tracks and other features connected to the site’s former
industrial use.

Minera Quarry is also of national geological importance, including a
Geological Conservation Review Site (GCR) and two Regionally
Important Geodiversity Sites (RIGS). The GCR site comprises an
impressive system of natural limestone caves that, with the provision
of an access tunnel, could be developed into a visitor attraction unique
in the North Wales region.

Also exposed within the Quarry site are several mineral veins which
have been worked for metals from ancient times. The complex of hard-
rock tunnels affords the potential of a further underground visitor
experience in the fullness of time.

The various interests within Minera Quarry give the site great potential
as a major recreation and tourism resource in Wrexham County
Borough and would provide a fitting climax to the existing Clywedog
Trail and compliment the Minera Leadmines Visitor Centre. The North
Wales Wildlife Trust and the Minera Quarry Trust are keen to develop
these ideas as a long-term sustainable approach to regenerating the
site for people and wildlife and preserving its important features.

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                             Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                            Protecting Wildlife for the Future


Start date: January 2007
Completion: August 2007

TACP Consultants in association with PHT Consultants were appointed
in January 2007 by the Minera Quarry Trust to develop a regeneration
strategy for the currently disused Minera Quarry, near Wrexham. The
study had a number of broad objectives supported by a series of
project themes established by the MQT to meet the following aims:

   •   Conserve and develop features of geological, natural history and
       industrial heritage.
   •   To provide an educational resource.
   •   To create an interpretation centre.
   •   To provide recreational facilities for young people.
   •   To enrich the life of the Minera, Gwynfryn, New Brighton and
       neighbouring communities.

From the site analysis and member appraisal the study put forward a
series of interrelated development options.

       Option 1 - Do nothing
       The current owners (Lafarge) allow de-facto public access which
       comes from the public rights of way that cross the site. Whilst
       this offers the minimum cost option it does not assist it ensuring
       the quarry’s future for the benefit of the local community.

       Option 2 - Low-key visitor facilities
       Assumed that the quarry is in ownership of a Trust, and sought
       to deliver a modest, easy to manage option, which would be
       achievable and provide a starting point for future visitor
       development. The proposed measures were concerned
       primarily with access, information provision and site

       Option 3 - Opening up the cave experience
       Concerned with developing the key asset of the quarry, the
       underground cave system; supported by modest visitor facilities
       and car parking. It would develop from Option 2 but include for
       a pay boundary to control access to the caves.

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                             Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                            Protecting Wildlife for the Future
       Option 4 - Caves with visitor facilities
       As with Option 3 the caves are opened up for visitors but more
       comprehensive visitor facilities are provided. This would enable
       charges to be made for the visitor attraction.

       Option 5 - Full scheme
       This provides the maximum visitor experience in terms of the
       caves, visitor facilities, retail and catering facilities and larger
       interpretation and educational features.

The NWWT and MQT agreed that the preferred strategy to ensure that
the entire site is appropriately cared for into the long-term is for income
to be generated to sustain management work. Only option 3 and
above involve opportunities for income generation so it was agreed by
the NWWT and MQT that further consideration of Options 3, 4 and 5
would be required.


In order for regeneration of the site to proceed, further study will be
required. Issues highlighted in the 1st Phase feasibility study for further
investigation need to be addressed. It is considered that this would be
best done with a two stage approach – the first to ensure the feasibility
of the proposal, and the second to develop the implementation of the
project. It is possible that the next phase could be completed in six
months of the start date, providing that adequate resources are


In order to take matters forward it will be necessary to employ a
Development Officer to manage and oversee all aspects of the work
and deliver the required outputs. Although consultants and
professional services will undoubtedly be required to undertake certain
elements of the work, the use of a dedicated officer would help to limit
high costs associated with consultancy fees and ensure coordination
and continuity across the various project elements.

The NWWT and MQT are currently working to secure provisional
agreement for grant funding to enable employment of a Development
Officer. The proposed initial term of contract is from 1st April 2010 –
31st March 2011.

The setting up of a small management committee is proposed to
oversee and direct the work of the Development Officer. The
management committee would ideally comprise of representatives
from the following organisations:

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                                 Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                                Protecting Wildlife for the Future
   •   Wrexham County Borough Council (as an observer and advisor)
   •   Countryside Council for Wales (CCW)
   •   Minera Quarry Trust
   •   North Wales Wildlife Trust


Start date: 1st April 2010
Completion: 31st March 2011

The issues below require further investigation. Assuming
investigations can start in April 2010 it is envisaged that the bulk of the
information regarding technical feasibility would be discovered by
October 2010.

       Legal issues by October 2010
       All known and potential legal issues require assessment,
       including issues relating to access, land ownership, public rights
       of way, health & safety and public liability.

       Current ownership issues by October 2010
       All issues concerning land-ownership require investigation so
       that sufficient information is available on which to develop
       feasible proposals. This would involve interrogation of Land
       Registry records and other likely sources of information as well
       direct liaison with local landowners. Issues such as mineral
       rights, shooting and fishing rights also require investigation if
       they might have an impact on the nature of any developments.

       Community issues by October 2010
       Opinions of local stakeholders with an interest in the quarry area
       require further examination and assessment. The feelings of the
       wider Wrexham community may also need to be gauged in
       order to inform proposals.

       Access issues by October 2010
       All issues regarding access for people and vehicles needs to be
       examined and assessed. This would include assessments of the
       current access situation as well as consideration of proposed
       access developments relating to the proposal. The full
       development of the existing Clywedog Heritage Trail also
       requires consideration.

       Technical issues relating to the cave system by October 2010
       A detailed study of the viability and requirements of the cave
       opening proposals needs to be undertaken including a full
       analysis of the Health & Safety aspects.

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                               Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                              Protecting Wildlife for the Future
      Statutory designations and wildlife by October 2010
      Implications relating to the SSSI designation, protected species
      and other wildlife present within the site require examination
      with preliminary strategies developed to deal with them.

      Planning issues by end March 2011
      Planning permission for the various elements of the project will
      be required. Close liaison with the WCBC Planning Department
      will need to occur from the outset to ensure that there is full and
      proper consideration of all aspects of the proposal.

      Other technical issues by end March 2011
      Similar studies will also need to be done for the Industrial
      Heritage structures within the site. In addition to this, issues
      relating to the functioning of the site require assessment such
      as access for works vehicles and machinery during development
      and for visitors (cars and foot-traffic) post development. The
      required provisions for on-site facilities and all related
      infrastructure also need to be investigated such as water supply,
      sewerage systems, electrical supply etc.

      Heritage conservation Issues by end March 2011
      A Heritage Conservation Management Plan needs to be
      developed that sets out the objectives and requirements in
      relation to the industrial archaeology and quarrying features.

      Recreation/education potential by end March 2011
      The use of the site for recreational and educational potential
      requires investigation so that it can reach its full potential as a
      multi-use visitor attraction.

      Future governance and administration by end March 2011
      Arrangements for the future governance of the development
      would need to be agreed in principle to ensure a workable
      system can be formed. This might include the creation of an
      appropriate legal entity to manage the development into the

      Review of costs by end March 2011
      A full review of all likely projected costs will need to be
      undertaken at this stage. This would include both capital and
      revenue costs as well as a breakdown of the specific capital and
      revenue costs of each defined project element.

      Presentation of results to Stakeholders by end March 2011
      The results of the Phase 2 investigations would be presented to
      all stakeholders so that agreement for and commitment to the
      proposed development can be secured prior to entering Phase 3.

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                               Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                              Protecting Wildlife for the Future
Once the second stage of the study is complete it would be possible to
determine the feasibility of all aspects of the project including
recommendations for the future long-term ownership/management of
the site, notwithstanding the viability of the proposed regeneration

Assuming the conclusions of this stage of study are satisfactory it
would then be possible to proceed to Phase 3. Funding for the next
stage would be secured before April 2011.


Start date: 1st April 2011
Completion: 31st March 2012

      Environmental Impact Assessment
      A full environmental impact assessment of the proposals would
      need to be undertaken taking into consideration both the
      development phase and final use of the site. Consideration of
      impacts on species and habitats will be required including SSSI
      and RIGS designations, as well on issues such as noise,
      pollution and visual amenity.

      Wildlife conservation management
      A costed Wildlife Conservation Management Plan needs to be
      developed that sets out the future objectives and requirements
      in relation to managing the wildlife conservation interest of the

      Management strategy
      A comprehensive set of costed management plans for all
      operations both for the development work and post
      development activities would need to be drawn up. This would
      include details of all works relating to the opening and operation
      of the site, including the caves, nature reserve, historical assets
      and visitor facilities.

      Business Plan
      A detailed business plan for implementing the proposal will need
      to be produced, including employment of staff, timing of
      operations and identification of potential funding opportunities.

      Planning permission
      A full and detailed plan would need to be submitted to WCBC
      Planning Department for consideration. By this stage it would
      be hoped that the vast majority of issues would have been
      addressed following close liaison with the planning department.

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                             Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                            Protecting Wildlife for the Future
      Securement of funding
      Applications to appropriate funding sources for implementation
      of the project will need to be secured. A summary of potential
      funding sources is shown overleaf:


Once funding has been secured and planning permission approved it
would be possible to implement the project.

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                          Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                         Protecting Wildlife for the Future

The range of funders who might support the Minera Quarry
Regeneration Project in can be broadly broken down as following:

   •   European Union
   •   Welsh Assembly Government and associated agencies
   •   Independent funding bodies
   •   Corporate bodies
   •   Local Authority

European Union
EU funding has existed for development projects, and furthers
programmes with this aim so would be a high priority for investigation.

Welsh Assembly Government and associated agencies
Welsh statutory funding is a possibility. This can stem from WAG
directly or its agencies, and/or funds that it manages, particularly the
element of the Aggregates Levy which exists for redistribution towards
biodiversity benefit and communities affected by mineral extraction.
Landfill Tax is another good potential source of funding.

Independent funding bodies
There is a large amount funding which is helped by independent
funders, such as charitable trusts and the Lottery funds. There is an
enormous diversity of such funders, and a wide-range of criteria. This
area of potential funding can make a significant contribution, in terms of
one or two larger contributions, and larger numbers of smaller
contributions, from this very diverse sector.

Corporate bodies
The corporate sector has the capacity to fund visionary projects that
catch the public imagination and raise profile. Lafarge may wish to
contribute to elements of this project as part of wider public
engagement strategies, corporate responsibilities and profile raising

Local Authority
Funding in the short to medium term from Wrexham County Borough
Council is unlikely, but the authority may be able to offer some of its
facilities and non-cash resources as part of a wider tourism and
recreation strategy to help the project secure EU and other funding.

nwwt@cix.co.uk                                             Gwarchod Natur ar gyfer y Dyfodol
                                                            Protecting Wildlife for the Future

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