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£10k war chest appeal to fight quarry scheme

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ANGRY residents have pledged to fight to the bitter end plans for a sand and gravel quarry on the edge of their village and have launched a campaign to raise a £10,000 war chest.

Protesters against the quarry at Barford (53418223)
Protesters against the quarry at Barford (53418223)

For more than six years residents have opposed Warwickshire County Council’s proposals for a large quarry which, opponents argue, would impact both Barford and Wellesbourne.

To fight the scheme, Barford villagers want to raise £10,000 to hire professional consultants but they have just over four weeks to act.

The quarry forms part of the county council’s minerals plan which, after six years of delays and revisions, was scrutinised by an inspector at a hearing last October. The inspector told the council to revise several major points.

The council has now launched a new consultation into its revised plan with a deadline of Friday, 7th January, for people to comment and object.

Residents claim the deadline was chosen as people are more likely to have Christmas and new year uppermost in their minds instead of campaigning against the quarry.

Members of the Sand and Gravel Committee in Barford acknowledge they have one last chance to stop the scheme. A meeting was held last Thursday (2nd December) in Barford St Peter’s School to raise awareness and discuss further options about the quarry proposal.

Malcolm Eykyn and Andrew Steel, committee members, said: “We have worked tirelessly for the last six years raising awareness about the proposed quarry threat as well as raising substantial funds to help fight our cause. This is our last chance to challenge the plan – to leave it is to surrender at the final hurdle. We need to fight again and fight to succeed in ‘downing the plan’”.

They added that if the quarry goes ahead, it will expose 1,500 villagers and 200 primary and nursery school children in the village to a “real risk of inhalation of toxic fine particulate dust and permanent damage to their lungs”.

Opponents also argue the quarry would destroy high-quality agricultural land and ancient hedgerows, and scar the landscape.

They also suggest an estimated 60 lorries a day will be exiting off and across the A429 and onto the Longbridge roundabout, increasing dirt, noise, vibration, and traffic congestion.

A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson said: “The minerals plan main modifications consultation started on 5th November and will end on 7th January. The purpose of the consultation is for the county council to propose main modifications to the minerals plan, which has already been through a number of previous consultations, since 2015.

“This is the last stage of the plan prior to the adoption of the plan. All comments received will be forwarded to the planning inspector who will consider the modifications and associated comments and make his final recommendations."

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise money for the protesters at www.gofundme.com/stop-the-quarry-near-barford-last-chance

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