Residents protest against quarry plans near Barford during public exhibition for the proposal

Residents from in and around Barford gathered in protest this week again plans for a sand and gravel quarry near the village.

Residents from in and around Barford gathered outside the community centre in the village in protest against the plans for a sand and gravel quarry outside Barford. At the time Smith's Concrete was holding a public exhibition about its plans for the site. Photo supplied
Residents from in and around Barford gathered outside the community centre in the village in protest against the plans for a sand and gravel quarry outside Barford. At the time Smith's Concrete was holding a public exhibition about its plans for the site. Photo supplied

On Wednesday (May 25) Smiths Concrete held a public exhibition at Barford Youth and Community Centre about its plans for a 89-hectare site that would provide two million tonnes of aggregate over 10 to 15 years.

For the last six years Barford residents have been campaigning hard against the Warwickshire County Council Mineral Plans for the quarry.

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Oxford University’s St John’s College owns the land where the proposed quarry would be located.

The college has requested that the county council include the site in their minerals land allocation plan which will allow a developer, such as Smiths Concrete, to extract sand and gravel from the site at Wasperton Farm, which is south of Barford.

Warwickshire County Council’s plans were submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for a review in October 2020, where the council were told to make various amendments.

In November 2021, the council launched a new consultation on their Minerals Plan.

During the public event around 200 villagers protested against the plans outside the community centre.

Malcolm Eykyn, one of the committee members against the quarry, said: “We cannot lie down after six years of vigorous campaigning and let this quarry damage our lives.

"The quarry men were in town on Wednesday to soften us up, but we are now more determined than ever to stop them in their tracks.

"Our fight continues and 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.”

Campaigners have also raised concerns over the last six years over the potential health implications of the quarry as well the amount of traffic the site would generate.

Ray Chambers, general manager at Smiths Concrete, said: “We were pleased to engage directly with so many in the community and provide information on our proposals and address misconceptions.

"We were able to show that a new sand and gravel quarry would supply vital construction materials and our phased approach would mean that 50 per cent of the site would continue to be farmed, with over half of Wasperton Farm fully restored by the time mineral extraction has finished.

"Plus, our independent specialists were on hand to reassure that dust is not a major issue and any that could arise would be managed effectively, with the potential impacts to human health considered negligible and well within the government-set limits.

"We are now reviewing the feedback received which will help us shape our final proposals.”

Feedback on the proposals can be provided via Smith’s website until 11.59pm on June 8, go to: https://www.smithsconcrete.co.uk/wasperton/whats-next.asp

Smiths Concrete has two existing Warwickshire sites - Wolston Fields Farm and Bubbenhall, which the company says are almost exhausted and cannot be extended

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