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Lightwater Quarries began in the 1970’s when Robert Staveley was inspired to build a country park with a boating lake – a unique start for a quarry and concrete business.
The Staveley family had been prominent in the Ripon area since at least the 15th Century, and in 1526 they received grants of land from Cardinal Wolsey, while he was Archbishop of York, for “good and gratuitous service”. Family fortunes rose and fell. Over 400 years later, by the 1970’s, the estate was much declined, furthermore the family home had a leaking roof and was badly in need of extensive renovation – it took an entrepreneur of exceptional vision and determination to turn the family fortunes around.
A man of outstanding business acumen and with a great love of and feel for the land, Robert Staveley first developed a fruit picking farm, then a piggery and a poultry farm. Once they were successfully established he was ready to begin on his country park. He had need of a large quantity of stone for a car parking area, estate roads and buildings. Having previously drilled for water to irrigate his farmland, he knew where limestone was located and his plan was to dig out the limestone to form a boating lake for his visitors. However he found the material to be so solid that the only way to extract it was to blast it – Robert was getting into quarrying without even knowing it.
Once Robert’s vision was realised, park and lake complete, he was left with a surplus of 115,000 tonnes of aggregate. North Yorkshire County Council advised Robert to apply for planning permission to quarry limestone across 58 acres of land. The permission was granted.
Because of work already undertaken, Robert also had a sand and gravel deposit, and having acquired permission to quarry this, he sold the rights to carry out the quarrying of these deposits. This gave him the freedom to further develop his limestone quarry business which was expanding at a healthy pace.
Fast forward to 2004, when Robert bought a mobile batching plant which mixes concrete on site – this allowed him a further outlet for his limestone and was also a way to supply concrete to the area. The mix-on-site (volumetric) wagon was the first in the area and was a success from the outset.
Along with the limestone quarry, the concrete business now known as Concrete4U has continued to flourish and has a large fleet of vehicles and an ever expanding customer base.
James Staveley, Robert’s son, now looks after this legacy. With the same love of and respect for the land, James honours the dreams and vision of his father by ensuring the business is eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable – one day Robert’s grandchildren will carry on the work their inspirational grandfather began, with the same commitment and dedication to the area and its people that Robert has so deeply instilled.