Campaigners resolve to keep fighting after council chiefs approve Barford quarry plans - The Stratford Observer
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10th Aug, 2022

Campaigners resolve to keep fighting after council chiefs approve Barford quarry plans

Philippa Mingins 26th Jul, 2022 Updated: 27th Jul, 2022

VILLAGERS in South Warwickshire are refusing to give up the fight to stop a quarry opening on their doorstep – despite suffering a major setback.

For the past six years residents in Barford have been campaigning tirelessly against plans for a sand and gravel quarry at nearby Wasperton.

They were included in Warwickshire County Council (WCC) Mineral Plan which identifies areas of the county where significant mineral resources can be found.

And the plan has now been adopted by WCC at a full council meeting.

Campaign group The Sand and Gravel Committee have long argued 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 have also voiced concerns about increased traffic. It is estimated 200 lorries a day would travel to and from the quarry – the size of around 126 football pitches – 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.

Campaign group spokesman Malcolm Eykyn said: “News of WCC voting to adopt this vast quarry outside our back door has merely hardened our resolve to continue to find legal means to obstruct it at every stage of the planning process.

“The authorities we are battling with still do not understand the gravity of the risk of damage and disruption due to dusty, noisy heavy lorries and mining machinery this would impose on the health of our residents over many years.

“We have just been informed that the existing Dunton quarry near Curdworth in the north of the county was given planning permission to produce recycled sand and gravel three months ago. This will generate the same tonnage per annum as our proposed site giving further proof of the unjustified need next to our community.”

More than 1,000 people have lodged official objections to the plans and campaigners have the backing of Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western, who 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.

Mr Western said: “County council chiefs will be aware of residents’ concerns and should hang their heads in shame for pursuing such damaging plans. None of the county’s other three silica-emitting mineral sites are anywhere near a village – and certainly not a primary school.”

A WCC spokesperson said the plan was adopted having been assessed through an public examination, which was overseen by an independent planning inspector for the Secretary of State, who found the plan to be sound.

They added: “The Minerals Plan sets out a strategy, minerals policies and allocates six sites for the future. It is not a planning application to approve the Wasperton Farm site.

“If a planning application for the Wasperton site comes forward, then a detailed Environmental Assessment will be required to be submitted in support of the application and then residents and local organisations will be fully consulted and have the opportunity to make further comments at that time.”

The earmarked proposed quarry land is owned by the wealthy St John’s College in Oxford.

A college spokesman has told the Observer while they understood 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.

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