A COMMUNITY is trying to buy a disused quarry with the hope of turning it into an environmental haven.
Pant Quarry, a 71-acre site, used to be a point for sand and gravel extraction for the building trade.
But owners Alfred McAlpine no longer use the site and it has become overgrown.
After assessing the site, the company decided it had no remaining commercial value as a quarry - or as land for housing - and has announced it wants to rid itself of the land by December this year.
It has indicated it would be prepared to sell the quarry to a community group for a discounted rate.
IMAGE (Improve Marford And Gresford's Environment) called a meeting last week to form an action group tasked with raising money for the land.
Almost 150 people attended to learn more and ask questions.
'The company has not revealed
how much valuers have told them the land is worth and have not indicated how much of a discount we could get,' said IMAGE's Sue Kelly.
IMAGE hopes to secure funding from a variety of sources including the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) in Wales, which gives multi-million pound grants funded by companies who have quarried in Wales for communities to buy back land.
According to geologist Prof Cynthia Burek, of Chester University, and NEWRIGS (North East Wales Regionally Important Geodiversity Sites) Pant Quarry is important as it marks the point where a glacier stopped during the Ice Age and deposited many minerals.
It also features many fossils and rocks ideal for sustaining rare reptilian and insect life.
'We want people to join our ac-
tion group but we also want people to suggest uses for the site,' said Denise Nicholls, a local environmentalist and IMAGE member.
'After all, it will belong to the community. Maybe you want it to be a nature walk, possibly left alone and untouched, or you want to see some sort of resource centre.
'All ideas will be considered.' McAlpine want to get rid of the land by December and to be considered for an ALSF grant, bids must be in by July 21 for approval this autumn.
IMAGE chairman Andrew Bailey said: 'This is a unique opportunity.
'We will be able to acquire a large piece of land and think globally by acting locally to preserve and improve the environment. But we need the support, help and involvement of the community.' n Anyone wanting to join the group or learn more about the campaign can call 01978 854469.