A STONE quarry in Gastard has been ‘mothballed’ by its owners, causing fears about job losses.

Monks Park mine was closed by owners Johnston Quarry Group on Tuesday afternoon after they claimed it had become stagnant.

The group, which operates a number of mines around the south west, also liquidated Keynsham Stone Masonry earlier this week.

A woman, who contacted the Gazette anonymously, said: “The mine has been locked down since 3pm and 11 men are out of work. A shock for all of them.”

On Wednesday, a spokesman for the group confirmed that the quarry was subject to change but declined to comment on the possibility of job losses.

The spokesman said: “Monks Park mine has not been liquidated but Keynsham Stone Masonry has been. Monks Park has been mothballed for the time being.”

The mine was originally opened in 1886 by Sumsions, before being taken over by Bath and Portland Stone company.

It covers around 38 acres and was also used as an ammunition and explosives store during the Second World War, a Royal Navy quarry and a museum, before Hansons took over to actively mine it.

After lying dormant for 12 years, Hanson removed the first stone from the site in January 2016.

The site was then sold to Johnston Quarry Group last year, who have been operating it ever since.

The news has come as a bit of a shock to nearby Corsham, with town councillors concerned over the possibility of job losses.

Ruth Hopkinson, chairman of Corsham Town Council, said: “If the rumours are true and the production at the site is to be ceased and 11 jobs would be lost, then we would feel extremely concerned for the workers and their families.

“We would hope they would be offered suitable employment going forward.”