Fears for new mineral quarries near Barford

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Residents are fearing for their health and their homes over two quarry plans near Barford which would see millions of tonnes of minerals extracted on their doorsteps.

Warwickshire County Council is identifying news sites for quarries for a new Minerals Development Framework to replace the 1995 Minerals Local Plan.

The worry in itself of the blight on our property which will be trapped by the quarry and will mean we cannot sell as house prices will plummet is bad enough

Fiona Jefferson

So far nine sites have been proposed for ongoing mineral extraction including at Wasperton and nearby Glebe Farm.

Proposals for Wasperton are to create a “large” site covering 110 hectares to the south of Barford and adjacent to the A429. It would have capacity to deliver 1.8 million tonnes of sand and gravel in its lifetime.

The second proposal at Glebe Farm is much smaller at 14 hectares to the east of Wasperton and would only be developed alongside the first. The site, currently used for agriculture, could be developed anywhere up until 2025.

But the proposals have already raised fears among residents who worry the plans will impact on health, bring down house prices and see them living amid traffic chaos.

Following a public meeting in Barford last week, John Murphy, the chairman of joint Barford, Sherbourne and Wasperton parish councils, said: “There is a level of public interest and impact over this and concerns raised so far includes issues including traffic and road safety, loss of agricultural land, traffic impact, dangers on roads and blight to houses.”

The council plans state that two sites will have a minimum stand off of 100 metres from homes and will be phased in to suit agriculture and the landscape.

But residents say that is too close to around 60 homes and that it will not only see destruction of land but up to 80 lorries travelling through the villages daily for over 15 years as deposits are transported.

Fiona Jefferson, who lives close to Glebe Farm, said people were “extremely worried” about health impacts .

She said: “I have lived with cancer for over 10 years and I am extremely worried about the health impact of silica dust on the young, elderly and those with existing conditions like myself, or for those with breathing problems.

“The worry in itself of the blight on our property which will be trapped by the quarry and will mean we cannot sell as house prices will plummet is bad enough, but this is already having a serious impact on wellbeing.”

Stephanie Steel, who also lives close to the farm said she is already unable to sell her home due to threat of work.

She said: “We were in the process of selling when buyers said they were not prepared to take such a risk as our house would be surrounded by sand and gravel pits and the situation would be untenable.”

A council statement said that all representations on the draft plan should arrive no later than 5pm on December 4.

Find out more on the plans, or have a say online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/mdf or visit the council offices in Shire Hall.