ANGRY villagers have joined forces to fight a proposed change of use for a quarry.
Ash Waste Services has applied for permission for change of use of land in Caergwrle to set up a waste recycling station and the restoration of a quarry, turning it into a recreation and tourist site.
But Caergwrle residents have vowed to fight the plan for Bryn-y-Gaer quarry, which they say will cause 'phenomenal' disruption to village life.
The villagers claim the site should be restored to its natural state and be used as a public amenity.
They also say the land is of historical importance, with an ancient monument situated nearby.
Protestors have until Wednesday, December 15, to make their objections and villagers have set up an action group to fight the proposal.
Group spokeswoman Lesley Griffiths, of Rhyddyn Hill, Caergwrle, said: 'There is currently planning permission to fill the quarry with inert waste then restore it with a top covering of grass and trees.
'The planning consent, which was initially granted, stated that the landfill had to be completed in three years and the site was to be restored to its former state but the company is now going completely against that.
'We had no problem with the quarry being filled as we could see an end in sight - we thought after three years it would be restored to its former state.
'A significant amount of waste has been brought to the site and we believed that was the start of landfill.
'But we heard last week that the company had applied for a change of use to a waste transfer station and then the restoration of the quarry to a countryside recreation and tourist site - which would include 19 tourist chalets.
'I don't think it's right that the company be allowed to do this as they are still compelled to stand by the initial planning permission.'
The action group, which is made up of around 70 residents, have stated they will fight the plans to the bitter end.
Lesley, whose home is opposite the site, said: 'The company which owned the site before Ash Waste Services blasted the quarry and stones were landing in people's gardens and windows had to be replaced but you put up with it because there was an end in sight.
'But there is no way we're going to accept this proposal and we'll fight it all the way.
'As for the final plan for tourist chalets, I don't think there's any call for that in this area. But what we fear is that if planning permission is granted, they can change it as they go along - so who knows what could happen 10 years down the line?'
Mum-of-four Lesley added: 'It was once a beautiful, peaceful area but it's slowly being destroyed. It's a place of history and it should be protected. We will fight it tooth and nail.'
A spokesman for Ash Waste Services said: 'There was already planning permission in existence for landfill and in alternative to that we have put forward a plan for recycling matter. That means there will be less waste going into the site.
'Recycling is what we're meant to be doing in this day and age. We're under pressure to recycle and that's what we're hoping to do.
'The scheme includes a big management plan for when we have finished recycling - we intend to set up a tourism site which will bring commercial benefits to the area.
'There will also be public access to the quarry and to an ancient monument situated near there.'
The spokesman added: 'We have a planning application in at the moment and hopefully the issue will be resolved in January or February next year. We're hopeful it will be in our favour.'
He added: 'I can't see how there will be a detrimental effect on the area.
'We had a noise study and it was decided that the residents closest to the site would not be harmed. We've had specialist advice on how to keep noise and dust away from nearby homes.
'The only impact the work would have would be heavy vehicles on the main road. However, it is a main road and there will be vehicles on it anyway.'
Flintshire County Council is set to discuss the matter early in the new year.