Barford residents to protest at Oxford University

Pictured in November 2015 are the residents of Wasperton and Barford including Richard Humphries, Fiona Humphries, Angela Chambers, Rob Skidmore, Stephanie Steel, Simon Johnson, Jim Gilligan and Julia Gilligan gathered on the site of the proposed gravel quarry to demonstrate their anger. Photo: Mark Williamson W104/11/15/19

CAMPAIGNING Barford residents are taking their fight against the construction of a new quarry in the village to Oxford University next week, to protest against the actions of one of its colleges.

Angry village residents will demonstrate outside St John’s College next Tuesday (28th May), the college which owns the land where the quarry is proposed.

By agreeing to allow the farmland to be used for sand and gravel quarrying, villagers believe St John’s is putting short term profit ahead of environmental and food sustainability, and is risking the health of local children.

It is hoped that the protest will raise awareness of the group’s campaign amongst college staff and students, who could potentially influence decision makers.

Oxbridge graduate Charlotte Morgan, who has lived in Barford for more than ten years and has two young children, said: “The College’s own website proudly claims that they do all they can to reduce their impact on the environment, and have even won awards from Oxford University for doing so. Yet if this quarry goes ahead, the local ecosystem will be destroyed.

“There will be increased risk of flooding, risk of polluting the nearly River Avon and 220 acres of the highest grade agricultural land will disappear. I’m really concerned about my children’s health suffering as a result of 700 diesel lorries travelling to and from the quarry each week, as well as the dust from the quarry.

“Our community is united in its opposition to the quarry,” she explained. “Around 1,000 people submitted formal objections to Warwickshire County Council last year and we have the support of our MP, Matt Western.”

Mrs Morgan added that campaigners had been disappointed by the responses they have received so far from Professor Maggie Snowling, Presidents of St John’s College.

She added: “We’ve had nothing in response but platitudes and a refusal to meet with us. This shows how far removed the College are from the reality of what is going to happen to the land that they own. It’s just a financial decision for them, but for people living in Barford and the surrounding villages, it will have a massive impact on our local environment, not to mention our health and quality of life.”

Villagers claim there are plenty of other available sites that are away from human population, not only existing sites that could be extended, but also former rejected proposed quarries that could be opened.