RESIDENTS have been left ‘angry and upset’ over plans to ‘decimate a natural beauty spot’ in the Ribble Valley.

Harleyford Aggregates have announced plans to extract around three million tones of ‘high quality’ sand and gravel in the ‘iconic’ horseshoe bend of the River Ribble in Samlesbury.

It is understood that a formal planning application is set to be submitted to Lancashire County Council soon.

The land is currently owned by the Booths Charity and is on the land of tenant farmers, Cath and John Wright.

The family has been on the site since the 1920s and could be forced to move on if the plans go ahead.

The plans were set to be discussed by Samlesbury Parish Council last night and a public meeting is being organised.

Residents have gained the support of Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.

John Greaves, who is helping organise resistance to the plan, said: “This would decimate the area which is a natural beauty spot.

“It’s what helps put Samlesbury on the map and it would just turn it into a mud plain.

“I doubt that the quality of the gravel and sand is good enough anyway.

“A public meeting is being organised at the moment and I’m glad that we have the support of Nigel Evans.

“Angry isn’t a strong enough word to describe how the residents are feeling.”

Mr Evans said: “I oppose this plan and I think it should be resisted at every stage.

“I was made aware that this could happen about a year ago but no planning application was ever submitted.

“The environmental impact on this area would be huge.

“I will keep in contact with the chairman of the parish council and others and make sure that resident’s voices are heard at the highest level.”

John Cowley, from Harleyford Aggregates, has said that there will be no harm to protected species, the Green Belt will maintain ‘openness’ and the project would maintain employment.

He has also said that there will be ‘minimal’ tree and hedgerow loss and ‘substantial’ tree and hedgerow planting.