Barford villagers outraged after council approves plans for quarry

Barford residents have slammed Warwickshire County Council (WCC) for approving plans for a quarry just hundreds of metres from their homes.

Barford villagers protesting the quarry plans back in May. Photo supplied
Barford villagers protesting the quarry plans back in May. Photo supplied

On July 19, the council adopted its new Mineral Plan, which includes the site at Wasperton Farm, 350 metres from Barford, and is intended to provide minerals for building across Warwickshire.

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Villagers have been fighting the plans for seven years.

Residents say they are fearful about the damage to public health caused by pollution by the quarry and the lorry journeys in and out of it every week.

The villagers are supported by Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western who claims a fourth quarry in the county is unnecessary because thousands of surplus homes are being built in the district, citing research by a demographer and an ex-council planner.

Mr Western also 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.

Chief campaigner and Barford Residents’ Association committee member, 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.”

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.

"I have seen analysis that estimates almost 4,000 surplus homes will be built in Warwick district by 2029 - at the trajectory of applications granted and sites earmarked for development.”

Warwick District Council’s Local Plan for future housing and development up to 2029 outlines the need for 16,776 homes. But, Mr Western and campaigners say the analysis compiled by ex-council planner and architect of 40 years, Ray Bullen, suggests 20,320 new dwellings will be delivered in the same time frame.

Mr Western added: “Work by the Keep Our Greenbelt Green campaign group has also cast doubt over whether a further 6,000 homes catering to Coventry’s population should be built in our district – when Office for National Statistics (ONS) calculations for housing need appear inaccurate.

"Therefore, the sand and gravel from this massive quarry – which would dwarf the entire land space covered by Barford – will not be needed once our Local Plan is revised as I believe it must be.

“This is devastating and potentially dangerous for Barford and its residents and I will be with them every step of the way as they continue to fight the plans.”