CONTROVERSIAL plans to allow a quarry in Caerphilly county borough to expand could be signed off this week despite local objection.

The Bryn Group have applied for permission to continue relocating an earth bund at their sandstone quarry near Gelligaer.

The waste management firm was granted permission to extract around 977,000 tonnes of sandstone over a nine-year period in August 2013.

The proposals included the creation of a natural barrier at the site’s northern boundary to screen the quarry, but the discovery of peat prevented work from proceeding as planned.

A report says: “This area of peat prevented the construction of the bund in the desired original location because the peat would have collapsed under the weight of the machinery needed to form the bund and the weight of the proposed bund itself.

Work on a new bund further away from the quarry, and closer to Gelligaer, started in March 2016 and a retrospective planning application went before Caerphilly council’s planning committee last month.

But the proposals have been met with stern opposition from village residents, with the council receiving a petition signed by 69 people, together with a further three letters of objection.

Issues raised include increased noise, dust and smells emanating from the site, the bund’s closer proximity to Gelligaer, and the retrospective nature of the plans.

Members of the planning committee had met on July 18 to consider the application, but the decision was deferred until August 15 to allow for further information to be gathered on nuisance mitigation measures.

Officers say noise and dust creation associated with the new bund fall “well below” industry thresholds, deeming mitigation measures for both issues as “sound”.

A report reads: “Based on the information provided the application demonstrates that the proposed bund is acceptable in landscape terms and that noise and dust would not increase to an unacceptable degree as a result of the repositioning of the bund.”

The report also says that the proposals will lead to a loss of a substantial area of degraded peat resource on the nearby Waun Rhydd site of importance of nature conservation.

But officers say this does not outweigh the benefits of the scheme, given that the sandstone extracted from the quarry is highly sought after.

The South Wales Regional Aggregates Working Party deemed the quarry as high specification aggregate (HSA), with the pennant sandstone being used for road surfacing materials.

Councillors have been recommended to approve the application.