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Quarry KO prompts village ceremony

PUBLISHED: 18:34 15 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:02 07 July 2010

Villagers turn the Hockham stone after the quarry plans for near the villlage were overturned.

Villagers turn the Hockham stone after the quarry plans for near the villlage were overturned.

It is a ceremony that only happens on very important occasions.

And villagers felt that the scrapping of proposals by the Forestry Commission to turn Hockham Wood into a quarry and waste site was one such time.

It is a ceremony that only happens on very important occasions.

And villagers felt that the scrapping of proposals by the Forestry Commission to turn Hockham Wood into a quarry and waste site was one such time.

More than 100 people attended the traditional turning of the Hockham Stone - last carried out as part of the millennium celebrations.

Mike Reidie, who helped co-ordinate the campaign, explained: “It is traditional that the stone at Hockham Green, which weighs three and a half tonnes, is turned at times of great importance and a time capsule, which is underneath, is updated.

“It started with the Boer war and has continued through various coronations, the Queen's jubilee and, lastly, at the millennium.

“It was felt that the success of having the waste and quarry plans withdrawn warranted the stone being turned again.”

As reported in the Times, the Forestry Commission announced it was pulling out of plans to turn areas of woodland into massive quarry and waste sites earlier this month.

For weeks there had been fierce opposition to proposals for quarrying, landfill and waste recycling centres at Hockham Wood and West Harling Woods at East Harling.

The sites are two out of more than 100 potential mineral extraction and 64 waste management sites identified by Norfolk County Council to meet housing and infrastructure needs.

But local people were horrified at the proposals, which would have seen the destruction of 128 hectares of forestry and woodland at Hockham and 399 hectares at Harling, and they held a series of protests.

Mr Reidie added: “It was a terrible shadow hanging over the village.

“Tradition allows for six people using blocks of wood and poles to turn the stone, and more than 100 people turned up to watch.”

The time capsule was updated with a petition to 10 Downing Street and photos and documents relating to the campaign.

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