PLANS to fill in Quidhampton Quarry and restore the area to grassland have been unveiled with future plans involving the development of an employment area on part of the site.

The 15-hectare site in Wilton Road, owned by the minerals company Imerys, was an industrial chalk quarry for more than 100 years, closing in 2009 due to lack of demand.

Gary Staddon, planning and estates manager for Imerys, said: "Since 2009 we have been working with the council and other bodies to come up with a sustainable use of the site and restore it.

"The north side of the quarry will be restored to grassland with the four-hectare southern side being levelled off and then another application going in at some point for employment use as stated in the Wiltshire Core Strategy."

People were able to see the plans during a public consultation held this morning at the Bemerton Heath Centre.

Imerys is working with the construction company S Walsh and Sons which will be responsible for the restoration.

Surveyor Sian Holmes said "The site is barren and derelict with all the buildings having been removed due to health and safety reasons and because they were being vandalised.

"We are proposing to fill the chalk pit with imported recycled aggregate which could come from excavating foundations or from tunnels, some of it might come from the Crossrail or HS2.

"About a million tonnes of recycled aggregate will be needed which will be brought up by rail on the mainline to Exeter and go into the quarry siding.

"We expect the restoration work to take between five and seven years.

"This application is concentrating on the restoration and we hope to submit it to Wiltshire Council by the summer.

"When the application relating to the development of the employment land, which has not yet been specified, goes in there will be another public consultation."

Brian Ford, from Salisbury, who attended today's public consultation, said: "I think what they're doing is a good thing.

"The information has been well-presented and the proposals make good sense for the use of what is presently a derelict and ugly site.

"The infill being delivered by rail is excellent."

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