Villagers on the outskirts of Rugby have drawn a line in the sand over threats posed by a massive extraction of minerals on their doorsteps.
If it goes ahead, they fear the scheme to quarry up to three million tonnes of sand and gravel will have a devastating impact on their lives and landscape.
Residents of Bourton on Dunsmore and Draycote, near Rugby, believe their villages and area to the north and east of them will be blighted for years to come.
Along with a hugely increased risk of flooding, they say the local environment and ecology would be dealt a catastrophic blow. Particularly at risk of flooding, they said, is the hamlet of Draycote which lies 38 metres below the extraction site.
Plans for a protest campaign are actively underway. A fighting fund has been established to recruit the services of a minerals planning expert. Every household is being asked to contribute.
The local community is working alongside Bourton and Draycote parish council to have the 110-hectare site, identified as the number one option for mineral development by Warwickshire County Council for 2017-2032, removed from the county’s hit list of nine target sites.
Other potential sites in the borough on the list include Brinklow, Wolston and Ling Hall Quarry.
Using the slogan ‘Kill the quarry - not our villages’, a working party/action group is seeking support from nearby Frankton and will be spreading the campaign to involve other neighbouring communities. Members will be co-ordinating collective and individual responses.
As well as posters and leaflet distribution throughout the area, the campaign is being supported by a newly created website. A Facebook presence has also been established.
The designated area, nearly half the size of the nearby Draycote Water reservoir and roughly equivalent to 110 international-size rugby pitches, straddles the B4453 ‘straight mile’ to the south of the A45.
It is described as “a very large new site” in the county’s 130-page Minerals Plan Preferred Option and Policies document published last month.
In what is a tight timescale, a December 4 deadline has been imposed by Shire Hall for responses
Cllr Barbara Walker, chair of Bourton and Draycote parish council, said: “This is a major threat to our communities with potentially hugely damaging and harmful consequences to the environment and ecology, both locally and further afield, and possibly the health of residents from pollution, dust, noise and the huge increase in lorry traffic this is likely to generate.
“The county states there are no major settlements nearby.
“This may be so but, just because we are small in size and numbers, county councillors and officers should not be mistaken in thinking that this is an excuse for them to blight our homes and decimate our villages and rural way of life.
“We will be fighting this all the way.”
Bourton, Draycote and Frankton village hall was expected to be packed for a second public meeting due to be held last night (Wednesday).