THE owners of a site used by scores of ramblers ‘weren’t aware’ of its popularity when they completely blocked it off from the public amid fears over its future use, bosses have revealed.

Penistone-based waste management company Bulk Group - the owners of Royd Moor Quarry at Thurlstone - were contacted by the council’s public rights of way team after concerns were raised over them securing the popular dog walking spot with fencing and heavy duty gates.

The firm claimed they were unaware of the status of the land - which is accessible via High Bank Lane - and agreed to reinstate public access in at least one place within seven days of the call.

There has not yet been any planning application submitted regarding the site and the firm have claimed they have ‘no plans’ for the quarry as of yet.

High Bank Lane resident Haydn Vernals, 50, said: “The real concern is they could have aspirations to use it as a tip, but it all seems to be in hand at the moment thanks to locals and local councillors.

“My concern going forward is what their long-term plans are.

“You don’t spend thousands of pounds on a plot of land - and even more fencing it off - for it to not be used.”

Coun Hannah Kitching - who often walks her dog by the quarry - added: “They said they didn’t know, but you don’t buy land without knowing what you’re buying it for.

“My advice to the new owners would be to to come and talk to the residents and local councillors and just be honest.

“Essentially, the ball is in their court.

“If they do plan to use the site for waste disposal, they will need planning permission. It would be a significant consultative process.

“You can’t just buy a hole in the ground and dump waste in it.”