Sheep Hill in Milton, between Dumbuck Quarry and the Bowling roundabout on the A82.

By Democrat reporter

A  Dumbarton company’s bid to quarry an ancient hillside between Milton and Bowling on the A82 has been put on the back burner yet again by dithering West Dunbartonshire Council.

In a new twist to the area’s longest-running planning dispute, the company behind the plan will face a further meeting with councillors.

At a meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council’s planning committee earlier this week, councillors backed a motion to seek further detail from operator William Thompson and Son, a company which has been operating in Dumbarton since the 1950s.

The controversial plan to quarry the Sheephill site has faced determined opposition from some members of the community.

Ancient cup and ring markings were found at Sheep Hill.

At the heart of the debate is concern over the loss of a site of archaeological importance – it was once home to an Iron Age fort –with a number of significant markings still present on the land.

Residents also harbour concerns over noise and public access at the site – which features in a 19th century painting by renowned Scottish artist John Knox.

Councillors backed a motion by independent Bailie Dennis Agnew calling for further talks with the operator.

The councillor told an earlier meeting of the committee: “I have mixed feelings about this. The site visit was very informative.  “I don’t think it is regrettable that we would lose the monument, I think it is avoidable.

Bailie Denis Agnew and campaigner Rose Harvie.

“I have been involved in this since 2003. I would like to continue this and speak to the applicant in more detail.”

Permission to quarry was approved in 1949 and allows the site to be operated on an unrestricted basis.

However, any new agreement will permit working only between 6am until 10pm, seven days a week.

Rose Harvie, secretary of Silverton and Overtoun community council said: “This is a problem that has being going on for many years.

“The community council has been objecting to this since 2012. The hill is the site of a monument.

“At one point there were stones which were of historical value and removed to a museum some time ago.

“Sheephill has been in place for many centuries and is visible from the other side of the Clyde. It should be protected from further damage.”


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