Submission of potash plan delayed

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THE SUBMISSION of the planning application for a potash mine near Whitby has been delayed after the National Park Authority asked for an “extensive list” of additional information.

Plans had originally been expected in the autumn and then by the end of last year but the Whitby Gazette can reveal they are now expected to be submitted later this month.

Mark Hill, head of development management, said there had been no submission as yet but the North York Moors National Park planners had been liaising with mine firm York Potash as part of the pre-application process.

He confirmed that the authority has asked York Potash to include extra details in the application which he understood York Potash were now working on.

They include details on ecology, the impact of the mine head and why it couldn’t be located outside the national park and the national need for the potash reserve.

He said: “I understand they have been working on the submission but are not there yet. It is a very extensive list.”

Specialist mining experts will be drafted in by the national park to assess the application once it has been submitted and Mr Hill added that in some ways it will be treated like any other application but in others it won’t.

He said: “This is one of the biggest applications in the national park for many years. But it is still a planning application and there is still a central government target of 16 weeks but this is much bigger than a window in a barn conversion.

“We have been working with them for two years now prior to the application being submitted – it won’t just land on our desk and we have 16 weeks – we have had two years dealing with it.

“Some features like statutory notices and notifying parishes will be the same but there is likely to be a public meeting for people so it will be different in that way.”

A spokesperson for York Potash said: “The application is currently being finalised and will be submitted in due course.”

After an extensive programme of test drilling York Potash revealed in September that it had chosen Dove’s Nest Farm near Sneatonthorpe as its proposed location for the £1.7 billion project which the firm says will create 700 jobs.

At the time, Chris Fraser, the managing director of Sirius Minerals (York Potash’s parent company) said: “We looked at all sorts of locations inside and outside the national park and we genuinely believe that this area is the best.”

Should the planning application be successful, it is hoped to start the construction process as soon as possible.