Shropshire Star

Campaigners say greenbelt quarry bid would be ‘blot on landscape’

Campaigners fighting to prevent quarrying taking place on 110 acres of greenbelt land are planning a public meeting to continue their battle against the proposals.

The Stop The Lea Castle Farm Quarry Action Group

NRS Aggregates Limited has submitted extra information to support a planning application to quarry on the site at Lea Castle Farm in Wolverley, near Kidderminster, which lies alongside the A449 Wolverhampton Road and the B4189 Wolverley Road.

The company claims quarrying of materials is vital to the building industry and that the move would create 11 jobs.

A planning application was rejected by Wolverley and Cookley Parish Council and Wyre Forest District Council. But an application is now being considered by Worcestershire County Council and, if given the go-ahead, the company hopes to extract about three million tonnes of sand and gravel during an 11-year period.

Members of the Stop The Lea Castle Farm Quarry Action Group have said that the quarrying proposals would lead to “destruction of beautiful unspoilt countryside and which become a blot on the landscape”.

They also said that, according to Friends of the Earth, Kidderminster is already home to more than half of Worcestershire’s pollution hotspots.

Objectors say that quarrying will have a serious impact on local residents, schools, business and the environment and that more than 150 lorry movements each day could result bringing traffic chaos and dangers to the area.

Adrian Carloss, chairman of the campaign group, said access to open spaces we vital for people’s well-being.

He said: “If the Covid pandemic has taught us anything it is that we should be retaining our public open spaces, footpaths and bridleways such as the ancient parkland at Lea Castle Farm to improve our physical and mental health by encouraging us to walk more, cycle, or simply to enjoy a green and natural environment.

“In other words, our open green spaces are a powerful weapon in the fight against obesity and ill-health.

“The company has said that this will actually help the area and create jobs but it will do untold damage.

“There are many hospitality places around the area which will lose custom because who will want to go for a day out and put up with noise and dust from a quarry?”

The parkland and Lea Castle were created by the Knight family in 1762 from the wealth generated from the iron works.

Positioning of the castle and grounds joined the iron forges at Wolverley and Cookley, forever connecting the two villages together, and created a public right-of-way which has been used for hundreds of years.

Campaigners, who have set up a fighting fund through a crowdfunding page online, are now desperately trying to raise further objections to the proposals before the consultations end.

They now plan to hold the public meeting at Heathfield Knoll School sports hall so they can discuss how to continue their fight against the proposals.

It has been planned for Monday, September 6 at 6.30pm.

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