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Lightwater Quarries began when Robert Staveley decided to build a country park with a boating lake, a very unusual start for a quarry and concrete business!
Robert had a need for a large quantity of stone for car parks, roads and buildings.
Having once tried to drill for water to irrigate his farmland, he knew where the limestone was located and his plan was to dig out limestone to make a boating lake for his visitors.
As he started to dig the lake he found the material was so solid his earth moving equipment was having no impact. He realised quite quickly the only way to extract the limestone was to blast it – Robert was getting into quarrying without even realising or trying to.
Once the boating lake was dug and blasted out and the roads, buildings and car parks were constructed, Robert was left with a surplus of 115,000 tonnes of aggregate. He therefore asked North Yorkshire County Council to come and have a look at the material and advise him of what he would need to do to sell to the general market.
The council asked Robert how much limestone he had under his land, they advised Robert to apply for planning permission to quarry limestone across his 58 acres, the planning was quickly granted.
Because of work which had previously taken place on the estate Robert had also found a sand and gravel deposit and therefore he knew where he could dig to expand his business and start quarrying sand and gravel. Already quarrying limestone Robert applied for planning to extract the sand and gravel as well.
The large quarrying companies had started to buy up local quarries and produce aggregates for their own concrete plants, Robert decided that it was better to do a deal with one of the multi-national companies to sell the rights to the land rather than part with the land itself, the sand and gravel market was highly competitive so he sold the rights to quarry his sand and gravel to ARC which later became Hanson, this gave him the freedom to focus on his Limestone quarries which he was growing and developing at a healthy pace.
In 2004 Robert decided that he wanted to grow the business further and his plan was to buy a mobile batching plant that mixed concrete on a customer’s site, this would allow him an outlet for his limestone but was also a new way to supply concrete on the area. The mix on site wagon (volumetric) was the first one in the area and was a success from the first day.
The Concrete business, Concrete4U, has grown locally and now has 4 volumetric batch plants and a small drum mixer.