BROADWAY quarry will be operating from the top of Fish Hill for a further seven years now Worcestershire county councillors have approved plans for expansion.

The applicant, Smith and Sons (Bletchington) Ltd, has been granted permission to extract more Cotswold stone to a depth of 30m on the south east side of the site next to Buckle Street.

Smith estimate that the new area could yield about 450,000 tonnes of limestone for use both as crushed rock aggregate and limestone block.

The estimated annual production is between 100,000 and 130,000 tonnes per year and would maintain existing levels of production for a further three and a half to four and a half years.

Director for the operators Simon Smith said: "We already have some reserves, but this extra permission will keep us going for up to about seven years. Cotswold stone quarries are a fundamental part of the Cotswolds."

Mr Smith added that his company supplies local firms, but has also been shipping the stone out to Japan.

In passing the extension plans, members of Worcestershire County Council's planning and regulatory committee imposed 24 new conditions on Smith and Sons.

The conditions concerned site access, working schemes, hours of working, noise, dust, groundwater, surface water, protection, restoration and aftercare.

One particular condition requires Smith's to build a stone wall between the site and Buckle Street.

Quarrying at the top of Fish Hill began in the 1930s and the site has been worked intermittently since before the Second World War.

It is the only quarry in Worcestershire where Cotswold stone is extracted.