A wave of protest from the local community was not enough to prevent an Angus quarry extension being approved by councillors.
The application to step up the extraction of sand and gravel from the land at Pitreuchie Farm angered neighbours who have been fighting against it.
The 69 objections to the Laird Aggregates application included one from Angus Housing Association which owns around 41 houses and flats and factors a further 75 to the immediate west of the quarry site in Forfar.
Residents warned the proposed development was “far too close to residential properties” and the air pollution and environmental impact would be “considerable and possibly catastrophic”.
Planning chief Kate Cowey told Tuesday’s development standards meeting there would be a buffer zone of at least 100 metres between the quarry and the “significant number of residential properties in proximity of the site”.
She said there was “little doubt” that works would be visible to nearby residents and would be “particularly pronounced at the early stages of operation in each phase”.
Angela Gillies, whose house in Pitreuchie Place overlooks the site, was due to make an impassioned plea to urge councillors to put the brakes on the extension.
She left the committee room in tears halfway through the presentation after becoming too emotional.
The trainee jeweller’s partner David Hall stepped in and spoke in her place.
“As you can see it has been a very stressful process from start to finish,” he said.
“This has been very wearing for both of us and our mental and physical health has been affected.
“The site directly onlooks a number of residences, with the worst affected having front gardens, living rooms, and bedrooms facing directly onto the site.
“There are areas of residential properties where sufficient mitigation for noise and dust may not be able to be introduced to safeguard the quality of the local environment.”
The application was recommended for approval and there was just one letter in support of it with the main point being “that the proposal keeps jobs in the community”.
The extension will allow for the extraction of 1.1 million tonnes of sand and gravel at an average of 250,000 tonnes per annum over a period of four years and five months with a further year required to complete the restoration.
Auchterforfar has depleting reserves and Laird Aggregates said the development would safeguard jobs, the ongoing operation of the concrete products factory and minimise the importation of aggregates from outwith the area.
Not everyone on the committee was in agreement however.
Arbroath East and Lunan SNP councillor Brenda Durno said she could not vote to approve the plans after claiming it was “just too near the houses”.
She spoke of her fears that high winds could see dust and gravel blown into people’s houses.
Willie Booth, from Dalgleish Associates Ltd, the agent for the applicant, said concerns from local residents had been fully addressed.
He said the 100 metre buffer zone was within regulations and no different to the distances that other quarries were currently operating within the Angus Council area.
Mr Booth said the applicant was therefore not asking councillors to take a step into the unknown.
The extension was approved through despite Ms Durno voting against it.