Campaigners continue to fight plans for a new quarry off the A12, despite the proposals being recommended for approval by Suffolk County Council.

The 35.7-hectare site off the A12 at Brockley Wood, between Belstead and Bentley, has been identified as one of nine allocated sand and gravel extraction sites in Suffolk, with a planned 2.8m tonnes to be extracted over a 15-year period.

East Anglian Daily Times:

There have been 124 official objections submitted to the council on the plans, with residents and councillors vowing to fight against the proposal.

Councillor Michael Bamford, on behalf of Bentley residents and Bentley Parish Council, said: “This appalling proposal is for an industrial plant for which Suffolk County Council acknowledges there is no need, in a totally inappropriate rural setting.

"The proposal would have a devastating effect on the countryside and wildlife in a rural designated valued landscape with visual, noise and light pollution.

“It would have a devastating effect on village life in Bentley through the HGV traffic it would generate for many years via the single track and Quiet Lanes in the village, which would endanger walkers, cyclists and horse riders who use the lanes for recreation.

East Anglian Daily Times: Michael BamfordMichael Bamford (Image: Newsquest)

“Bentley Parish Council urges Suffolk County Council to reject this highly damaging and redundant proposal, which would result in industrialisation of an irreplaceable stretch of countryside that is much valued by its residents.”

The saga first began in 2017 when Belstead was identified as a location for mining based on a British Geological Maps survey.

Some 24 boreholes were drilled across the site over the next four years to establish the presence of sand and gravel deposits.

The current application, submitted on behalf of Brockley Wood Ventures Ltd in 2022, originally included a concrete batching plant, but this was scrapped last December.

But residents have raised repeated concerns about noise, destruction of biodiversity, traffic, and loss of public footpaths from the site, which is proposed to operate from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 7am to 1pm on Saturdays.

One objection submitted to the county council said: “The quarry will increase the traffic of HGVs on roads that are already over capacity. This in turn increases the pollution levels in the area.

“I feel strongly too of the damage to the environment. The trees and the wildlife habitat will be lost."

Another said: “Not only will it affect those that enjoy this beautiful area, but the amazing habitat of those animals, including foxes, badgers, deer, snakes and all the other wonderful creatures that live here."

Brockley Wood is an ancient woodland with many rare species including hazel dormice, white admiral butterflies, and tawny owls.

Suffolk County Council's Development and Regulation Committee will meet to discuss the plans next Tuesday.

The council said it could not comment in advance of a decision being made, but the proposals have been recommended for approval.