COUNTY councillors have expressed concerns over a proposed quarry near Hexham.

In November, Thompson's of Prudhoe revealed its plans to excavate sand and gravel at the 90-hectare Anick Grange Haugh site, east of Hexham's Egger factory, over a 30-year period.

While a campaign group made up of local residents has been set up, councillors representing towns and villages set to be most affected by the plans have said they will object the proposals.

Nick Oliver, whose ward of Corbridge covers Anick, Beaufront, Sandhoe and surrounding areas, Cath Homer, Hexham East representative, and Trevor Cessford, for Hexham Central with Acomb, have added their names to the list of people against the quarrying project.

Coun. Oliver said “The council has a legal obligation to ensure there is a constant supply of sand and gravel for construction and is required to identify sites.

"My concern is that this site is on a scale that will change the character of the landscape at a strategically important location at the gateway to Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman frontier.

"Tourism is our second largest employer in Northumberland, and the Tyne Valley is a jewel in our crown. Residents in my ward have raised significant concerns about flood risk, environmental impact and traffic safety at the already difficult junction of Ferry Road north of the bridge in Hexham.

"We need sand and gravel but we don’t need it on this scale from this location.”

His sentiments were echoed by Coun. Homer, who said: "Not only will this proposal have a significant negative impact on a beautiful area in the Tyne Valley, recognised as such by residents and visitors alike, it is also a huge concern for many residents in Hexham East, who, because of the topography of the land, are facing the prospect of this as a potential view for many years to come.

"This proposal is the wrong size and the wrong location.’

Coun. Cessford added: "I am very concerned at the scale of the operations and also at the extra traffic coming out of the junction with Rotary Way.”