The farm sits in Allostock in Cheshire West and Cranage in Cheshire East so requires approval from both councils for the development proposed by Belgian firm Sibelco. The government will have the last decision on the site.

Planning officers have recommended the scheme for approval in a report issued before the CWAC planning committee, taking place on 8th January.

The report said: “The proposed development would provide a supply of silica sand to meet an ongoing need for a nationally significant resource. Other benefits include the restoration back to agricultural use and wildlife conservation, and the provision of a footpath for long term public amenity use. It is considered that on balance the proposed development would not have an unacceptable detrimental impact upon the wider environment and that any negative impacts identified could be overcome by appropriately worded planning conditions.

Officers believe that the quarry would not have a ‘severe impact’ on nearby roads, that drainage issues could be resolved and that the impact on the natural environment ‘would not be significant’.

They also insist that measures can be put in place to ensure the Jodrell Bank radio telescope can still work effectively – after a report commissioned by Sibelco suggested that the quarry could not be operated at a level quiet enough to meet the requirements of the University of Manchester, which runs the proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a letter to CWAC, Allostock Parish Council insists the potential interference to Jodrell Bank should mean the application is dismissed.

CWAC has received more than 800 objections to the proposed quarry from residents concerned about lorries on neighbouring roads, the impact on wildlife and air quality, and the loss of open countryside.