Residents angry over Moors Valley gravel plan

Bridge near Crane Lake in Moors Valley Country Park
Image caption Moors Valley Country Park is used by many local people, who are concerned about the plans

People living near a country park in Dorset have started a campaign against plans to extract gravel at the site.

Neighbouring Hampshire County Council wants to earmark a 700,000 sq m site - the size of 157 football pitches.

Up to 250,000 tonnes of sand and gravel a year could be extracted if the plans for Purple Haze are approved.

The No 2 Purple Haze group oppose the plans saying it will be an eyesore. The county council said responses and issues raised would be addressed.

The council said so far it had received 78 responses and a public inquiry was planned for next spring.

If the plans are approved, the site alongside the B3081 could be used for landfill after extraction has taken place, and would then be restored to heathland after 10 to 15 years.

Sarah Sumner, from the campaign group, said many residents were worried about the impact on wildlife, increased lorry traffic and house prices dropping.

She said more than 300 people turned up for a meeting the group held last week.

Existing lanfill site

"It was very heated," Ms Sumner said.

"Everyone was very angry that they had not been made aware of the plans.

"There's pockets of heathland on the site. It's a tranquil open space - you can't find many places like that nowadays.

"It's full of rare wildlife and the plan should be dropped.

Image caption There is already a landfill site on the opposite side of the road to the site proposed for Purple Haze

"We've already got a very large landfill site on our doorstep in Verwood called Blue Haze, that's going to be expanded until 2030.

"It's a well managed site and we've not complained much about it. We can smell it and the sea gulls are here - we're fine with it but we don't want another one."

Councillor Mel Kendal, executive member for environment and transport at the council, said: "We made a significant effort to inform people locally about the consultation on our approach to managing minerals and waste development."

He said all the relevant district, county, town and parish councils had been informed about the plan and told how to respond.

He added: "By the closing date [in March] we had received 38 responses from people about Purple Haze and Blue Haze and since then, a further 40 people have sent us their comments, which will also be taken into account.

"I must stress that the consultation document was not the Hampshire minerals and waste plan. The views and evidence submitted in response to the consultation are being used to inform the drafting of the plan."

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