Villagers not giving up in fight against quarry plans - The Leamington Observer

Villagers not giving up in fight against quarry plans

Editorial Correspondent 30th May, 2022 Updated: 30th May, 2022   0

CAMPAIGNERS in a South Warwickshire village are not giving up the fight to prevent a quarry opening on their doorstep.

For the past six years residents in Barford have been fighting plans to open a sand and gravel quarry at nearby Wasperton.

The proposals are contained in the Warwickshire County Council (WCC) Mineral Plan which identifies areas of the county where significant mineral resources can be found.

Campaign group The Sand and Gravel Committee fear there could be severe health consequences – particularly for children and elderly residents – if the 220 acre site becomes a quarry, as well as the destruction of agricultural land and ancient hedgerows.

Campaigners are also concerned about increased traffic. It is estimated 200 lorries a day would travel to and from the quarry on the already busy A429, raising road safety fears over lorries pulling across and onto the Wellesbourne to Warwick road and eventually onto the Longbridge roundabout.

The land is owned by the wealthy St John’s College in Oxford, and Smiths Concrete, which is looking to quarry the site, last week held an exhibition in a bid to allay the concerns of villagers.

But campaign group committee member Malcolm Eykyn said: “We cannot lie down after six years of vigorous campaigning. Our fight continues.

“While we still await the Inspector’s verdict on the last consultation of the WCC minerals plan, we are continuing to try and persuade the hierarchy of St John’s College, Oxford to meet with us. We can then explain that their very own published ethos of wanting to be environmentally sustainable contradicts their intention to open this quarry so close to our community.”

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western is backing the campaign.

He said: “For months we have been waiting for the planning inspector’s verdict and it is still not forthcoming.

“I brought forward a Private Members’ Bill to Parliament which aims to outlaw mineral quarries – or any that produce toxic particulates and silica – within 1km of homes and communities.

“The quarry in Barford would harm villagers and will only be hundreds of metres from a primary school if the plan is approved.

A college spokesman has told the Observer while they understand there were strong feelings, the college was not in a position to address issues related to environmental and health and safety concerns.

A spokesman said: “It will be the responsibility of Warwickshire County Council and potential new sand and gravel operator to address and answer any such concerns through future planning processes.

“The college will not allow any activity that is contrary to the local authority’s advice on environmental and safety issues.”

WCC has long stated it had a legal duty to produce a plan and allocate sand and gravel sites for future quarrying, and that difficult decisions had to be made.

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Campaigning villagers in Barford were out in force at the recent quarry plans exhibition.

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