A quarter of a century of quarrying at Hermitage Quarry, near Barming in Maidstone, was celebrated by more than 600 employees and their families, customers, suppliers and local dignitaries, during a special two day event, organised by Gallagher Group.
The highlight of the event was the official opening of a specially constructed tunnel linking the current quarry and the new westerly extension, which will deliver a further 25 years of employment on the site, supplying Kentish ragstone aggregate and building stone.
Designed and constructed by the Gallagher team, the tunnel, which cost £1 million to construct, is 100m long by 16m wide and 15m high and took 9 months to complete and was necessary in order to enable local residents and riders to enjoy an established by-way / footpath.
Pat Gallagher, Chairman of Gallagher Group, was joined at the official opening of the tunnel by Councillor Mark Dance, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, guests and members of the Gallagher team.
During the opening Pat Gallagher said: “Today is about celebrating our past, and the quality of our quarrying and commitment to restoring the land once we have removed the Kentish ragstone.
“It’s also about looking forward to the next 25 years and the work that we will do as a family-run business to deliver on our promises and restore the land back to what it was, or better. Many of the fields around the quarry have already been quarried and today they are productive farmland.”
“In addition to the tunnel the new planning permission has been the catalyst for new jobs, the investment of £9 million in new equipment, plant and vehicles and the launch of new products Gallapave and Gallaflo.”
Mark Dance acknowledged the local importance of Gallagher Group, saying: “Pat and his team have built a business that Kent can be truly proud of. Not only is Hermitage Quarry producing the Kentish ragstone needed by the construction industry, it provides the indigenous building stone for use in new build and restoration projects and it is providing important employment for local people.”
After the official opening event the Gallagher Group held a family fun day for more than 400 staff and relatives, involving a barbecue, live music, golf competition, games, a circus and earthmoving equipment from Diggerland for the children.