Critical days ahead for Barford quarry protesters

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Barford residents took their protests against the proposed quarry to the doorsteps of landowners St John's College in Oxford last year. Photo submitted

THE battle of Barford moves to its next round tomorrow, Tuesday.

For the last five years residents have been campaigning hard against the county council minerals plan which could lead to a large sand and gravel quarry on the edge of the village.

A government Inspector will hear the argument from both sides of the debate at an inspection to be held tomorrow Tuesday and Wednesday, 20th and 21st October at 10am.

The debate will be held virtually online due to Covid-19. As the inspector’s office can record the number of people watching, the villagers hope as many people as possible will listen to the inspection.

The Inspector will also be considering the merits of the other five proposed sites and then later make his judgment. Those that wish to observe the hearing will need to click on the link to the dedicated examination website which can be found at https://warwickshire-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/warwickshire_minerals_plan_examination_website

The strength of feeling in Barford was shown in the last consultation when 880 residents responded. The second largest number of responses to another site in the County was 41.

MP for Warwick and Leamington, Matt Western, has supported the Barford campaign for more than a year, securing a debate in parliament and presenting a national petition urging the government to step in and halt the proposals.

He said: “For me, the proposed quarry has wide-reaching negative implications for public health and environmental protections.

“The quarry near Barford and Wasperton is the only site in the minerals plan in such close proximity to a residential area, and it simply isn’t needed.

“The basis for which the site was proposed was predicated on overinflated figures for housing demand. I’ve submitted my objections to the county council’s plan and will be speaking at the hearing, to do all I can to halt this quarry from going ahead.”

Malcolm Eykyn, one of the committee members said: “We have worked tirelessly for the last five years raising awareness about the proposed quarry threat as well as raising substantial funds to help fight our cause. We sincerely hope that the Inspector listens to our concerns and removes the site from their plan.”

Back in March the villagers raised £15,000 in less than two weeks to raise vital funds to provide professional advice to prepare the best case to take to the Inspector.

Oxford University college St John’s owns the land near Barford and Wasperton. The college has requested that the county council includes it in their minerals land allocation plan.