From time to time, people try to do big, horrible things to their local neighbourhood.

The big, horrible thing being done to us is to dig a 105-acre hole in the ground, spend years digging out sand and gravel, then fill it in again.

And the site of this generator of dust, noise and congestion? Lea Castle Farm, on some of our prettiest countryside, between Wolverley and Cookley.

Of course, we all broadly agree we need more homes, and to have more homes, we need building materials.

Sand and gravel are key to more affordable homes and that is why quarrying is an activity that is overseen on a national basis.

Counties are expected to make their contribution to the national demand, and the Secretary of State gives indications as to where quarries can be sited (based on requests from land owners).

Cotswold Journal:

Once given the nod, it is up to local councils to approve – or otherwise – planning permission to dig the excavation. But it is tricky to block quarries on aesthetics.

I am utterly opposed to the Lea Castle quarry. To its immediate north is Cookley with its primary school; to its south is Heathfield Knoll School.

To the south east is Wolverley with its Seabright Primary School and a little further away, Wolverley High.

Whilst there are significant rules governing dust emissions from quarries, can the operators really guarantee that there will never be occasions of significant dust? And will residents be victims of noise pollution?

In a previous political career, I worked for some people whose lives had been blighted by the endless crash of heavy machinery extracting tonnes of gravel each day.

They were miserable, especially in the summer, when they couldn’t enjoy their gardens.

Meanwhile, the roads around the site will be subject to heavy lorries, firstly bringing in plant and machinery, then taking away the extractions.

Whilst it may be fine by the standards of the county council highways department, the endless grind of being stuck behind a heavy, noisy, dirty lorry wears out the patience of locals.

So I am helping the local campaign group to stop this proposal, submitting my own thoughts on why it should be blocked, suggesting reasons why Lea Castle is a bad idea.

Some might accuse campaigners of NIMBY-ism, but on this one, I wholeheartedly agree – this really is a dumb idea.