AN extension has been granted for extraction at a ball clay pit on the edge of Stoborough and Creech heaths.

It will mean work continuing on the site up until December 2030 – 13 years more than originally planned.

Regulatory committee members meeting in Dorchester on Thursday approved the decision after hearing that it would not involve more materials.

The permission also includes moving a haul road from the northern part of the site to its southern edge and changes to a restoration area associated with that move.

Councillors were told that, in mineral terms, the Furzeyground Ball Clay Pit site was relatively small producing around 4,500 tonnes each year, which often meant working the site on only one or two days a month. Planning permission for the site has existed since 1967 and historically it had an old mineral tramway running through it linking older pits with a quay on Poole Harbour.

The existing haul road across the site is used by lorries from Imery’s Dorey’s and Povington pits – reducing HGV traffic on local roads.

Planning officer Andy Helmore said the nearest property, apart from a bungalow which is owned by the company, is Perrywinkles in Cotness Road, about 100 metres from the southern edge of the site, with other homes more than 300 metres away on Grange Road.

He said that with existing planting and proposals for more planting on the edge of the site none of the properties should be significantly affected – and none had objected to the changes.

Mr Helmore said there had also been no statutory objections and the changes all complied with local and national legislation.

Cllr Ray Bryan said his only concern was that with the haul road closer to homes than at present it might lead to complaints about noise, especially as work was allowed to start on the site from 7am.

“I understand the company might want to start work as early as possible, but I’m looking at it from the residents’ point of view,” he said.

He was told that existing conditions relating to noise and disturbance should be adequate to deal with problems but, if there were difficulties, it could be brought back before the council.