By Ann Evans

 

Some real team spirit was shown recently as the residents of Warwickshire villages Barford, Wasperton and Sherbourne got together for a pig roast and an auction of ‘promises’ to raise money for their fight against proposed sand and gravel pits being created on the outskirts of their villages.

 

Around 100 people met up at the local Barford Village Hall for the pig roast and auction. Some 50 ‘promises’ were auctioned off by the well known auctioneer, James Hawksford who is also a resident of Barford. The promises ranged from house cleaning to holiday homes abroad, and proved a great success, raising over £10,000.

 

These communities have been known to pack a punch when asked to rally together as was proven when they raised money for the now highly commended playing fields in Barford, and they  certainly did not disappoint on this occasion either.

Allan Murdoch, Chairman of the Sand and Gravel Action Committee commented: “The money raised has superseded our anticipation and we are absolutely delighted with the end results. We have a battle on our hands and we are determined to fight it to the end.  The proposed quarry will have major impact on our villages in so many ways.  The health risks for a start are alarming and you only have to go to countries where Silicosis is highly recognised as a major health risk to see the effects it can have on a community.”

 

Murdoch went on to say, “We estimate a further 700 lorries on our roads per week if the quarry goes ahead. The pollution and dust from these lorries alone will not only be undesirable but unacceptable. The blight on our landscape and the impact on listed buildings is also of major concern. And of course, there is the issue of taking away the counties best most valuable agriculture land.”

 

These tranquil villages lie less then ten miles away from one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare which sees around 5.5 million visitors each year.

 

The sand and gravel quarry is expected to be put forward in the local minerals plan for Warwick County Council over the coming months.  The quarry would consist of 300 acres and is anticipated will be operational for some 20+ years.

 

The money raised by local residents will be used to deploy experienced and qualified resources to support the residents with their fight.  It is still early days, but already the traction gained by an active community is impressive. And their fight goes on.