Residents in a Nottinghamshire retirement village say they will be prisoners in their homes if controversial plans for a sand and gravel pit are approved.
Opposition has been growing against plans to dig up fields in Barton-in-Fabis and turn them into a quarry spanning an area the size of 120 football pitches.
Residents in Clifton at the nearby Lark Hill Retirement Village, which is home to many people with respiratory conditions, fear dust and noise from the development would leave them trapped in their homes.
But Greenfield Enviro, quarry development consultants acting on behalf of applicant London Rock Supplies, say the plans are being drawn up because of significant demand for construction materials, specifically in the Midlands.
Campaigners say five applications have been submitted for the area known as Mill Hill since 2014.
Resident Joan Thomas, a wheelchair user, lives with her husband Colin who has a respiratory problem.
The 74-year-old said it was a “terrible shock” to find out about the quarry plans when they moved into their “perfect” home in 2021.
She said: “It has been horrendous. When I look at the size of the proposed quarry and the amount of traffic and pollutants, it doesn’t make for good sleeping at night.
“I have been quite poorly with it and my husband is suffering from stress, too.
“It makes us very unhappy. There is no way a quarry is going to make this area safe and healthy, environmentally, physically or mentally.”
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has also opposed the plans, which are across the River Trent from Attenborough Nature Reserve, north east of Barton, saying that it was “one of the most ecologically damaging minerals allocations we’ve ever dealt with”.
They added: “The threat of damage and destruction to wildlife habitat and of significant local disruption from these proposals has been hanging over everyone concerned for far too long.”
A Nottinghamshire County Council spokesperson said it is working through “complex planning issues”.
It comes after the revised County Council Minerals Local Plan, as approved by the Government, was published in 2021, suggesting a gravel pit could open in Barton in Fabis.
She said: “Lark Hill has very vulnerable residents with breathing difficulties. How you can ignore that beggar’s belief.
“A lot of people can’t walk very far so they walk within the village. If there is dust around they won’t be able to get out.
“It is a big cloud hanging over us. We will feel like prisoners and we will be confined. This isn’t the life the residents wanted for their last years.”
Residents in nearby Barton-in-Fabis, who have set up the campaign group ‘SAVE’, are also fighting the plans which they say would “decimate” the area.
Lilian Greenwood MP, who has also called on the County Council to block the plans, said: “We have been fighting these proposals for years – they were wrong then and they are wrong now – putting the health of local residents, many of whom are vulnerable, at risk and threatening the local environment, wildlife and access to vital green space.”
Sally Gill, Planning Group Manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We appreciate the concerns the local community has regarding the length of time it has taken to deal with this application.
“The application has raised a number of complex planning issues, including those raised during the last consultation period held last year, and these need careful consideration from officers and key technical consultees.
“We are working through these issues and starting to finalise a draft committee report. Once this is done we will be able to set a date for the application to be considered by the Council’s Planning and Rights of Way Committee.”
A statement on behalf of quarry applicant London Rock Supplies Ltd stated that there has been a “substantial increase” in demand for construction materials, particularly in the Midlands.
They said: “This demand is due to the unprecedented high levels of activity in the housing and construction sectors, including schemes like Fairham Pastures that comprises over 3,000 houses that is located near to the proposed quarry site.
“We, therefore, consider that the need for the quarry to come forward at the earliest possible opportunity is even greater now than when the proposals were first submitted a number of years ago.”