Residents' concern over Swallowfield farm's sand mining plan

Bridge Farm Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The excavation is proposed at Bridge Farm

Plans to mine sand and gravel from "beautiful" farmland have been opposed by nearby residents.

About 3.6m tonnes could be mined at Bridge Farm in Swallowfield, Wokingham under an application by construction company CEMEX.

But some locals fear it could damage the area and affect house prices, with almost 300 residents commenting on the proposal online.

The estate's chief operations officer said it would "restore" the land.

Natalie Gabiani told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "We have had to review our operations because we had a dairy farm which has not made money."

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Natalie Gabiani said the plans would "restore" the land

She said while they would rather not excavate "it is something that will leave the farmland restored at the end of it.

"It is not building houses, it is not doing anything permanent.

"If we could afford to keep the estate as lovely fields then we would.!

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Gravel and sand from the land could last more than a decade, it is claimed

The plans have been pending consideration for the past 16 months following a public consultation. The council is expected to make a decision by 2020.

Swallowfield homeowner Alan Marvin said: "It has stopped people being able to sell their houses, downsize and move away".

He said there was "no need" for such a "beautiful part of the countryside" to be dug up.

Resident Susan Sumner said the plans would bring "so much more traffic to an area which already has severe congestion due to unprecedented levels of new houses being built".

She said she worried there would be a higher risk of flooding in an area which already floods "on a regular basis".

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