PLANS for an asphalt production plant at Whitewall Quarry in Norton have been recommended for refusal by members of Ryedale District Council.

The authority's planning committee unanimously voted against the application before a packed room of protestors on Tuesday night.

Around 80 objectors attended the meeting to demonstrate their concerns about the plans by W Clifford Watts Ltd to install the plant at their existing quarry on the outskirts of Norton.

The matter had been referred to Ryedale District Council following concerns relating to noise, emissions and traffic routing for a formal response.

Addressing the meeting district councillor Luke Ives, a member of Norton Action Group (NAG) said the fundamental purpose of planning is to ensure that development takes place in the right location and in the long-term interests of the community.

"Quite simply, the proposed Asphalt Plant is in the wrong location, and this gives rise to many conflicts with national, county and local planning policies," he added.

"It has been already been acknowledged by highways that the quarry poses a threat to the Malton Air Quality Management Area, hence the proposed traffic routing plan. However, this is wholly undermined by the existing operations on the quarry that are uncapped, unmonitored and uncontrolled.

He added: "In addition, the vast majority of HGVs from the site will commute along the tranquil street of Welham Road, and rip through the heart of Norton’s high-street. Asphalt is known to have a fetid, petroliferous odour and this will permeate from the lorries; which along with their noise and congestion, will substantially deteriorate the amenity of town. "

Fellow NAG member Liz Johnson said the plans posed an increase risk to road-users in an area which had seen two fatal accidents in the 1980s.

"It is in an unsuitable and unacceptable location which will have a detrimental impact on Malton and Norton both not and in the years to come," she added.

Fiona Campion, wife of race horse trainer Mark, said the plant would have a devastating impact on the town's 200 year old racing industry.

"The racing stables contribute over £20 million to the local economy and supports over 200 jobs along with many others in supporting businesses such as vets and saddlers," she added.

"The horses trained in the area require quality air and there area a number of concerns over the effects of the emissions and also the perceptions of the emissions on race horse owners."

Coun Lindsay Burr said she shared the concerns of local residents particularly on environmental issues, traffic and noise levels.

"It is not suitable for Norton and will have a negative impact on the town and surrounding area," she added.

"I feel we should ask the county council to refuse the application on these grounds."

Coun Caroline Goodrick said: "This is the wrong place for this plant. It is too near houses for the noise factor and increase in vehicle movements.

"Also, the racehorse trainers have worked hard to attract owners to the area and the economic impact will be huge if owners decide to bring their horses. It will be a black mark if we allow this to go ahead."

North Yorkshire County Council's planning committee is due to make a decision on the application at their next scheduled meeting on March 25.