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RESIDENTS got a chance to quiz council officials about plans to extract sand and gravel in Parley Court on Wednesday.

The site is one of 44 across the county identified as a possible source of construction materials, but there are fears extraction could lead to flooding in nearby Muscliff and Redhill.

As part of a public consultation under way until February 13, locals viewed plans and spoke to experts about the scheme at Muscliff Community Centre.

Mike Garrity head of minerals and waste planning policy at Dorset County Council, said it was likely some sites would be deemed unsuitable, and local knowledge might play a part in the decision.

“Local people may know about issues we are not aware of, and that will inform the process of looking for sites, he said.

“We are required to maintain a local supply of building materials otherwise it can cause problems in the construction industry.

“In this case, managed properly, the extraction should have no impact on the existing hydrology of the river.”

Among those viewing the displays were locals Tony and Elaine Peake.

Mr Peake said: “It is very informative, but we aren’t quite at ease.

“We are very concerned about talk of putting bunds in, and about noise levels. This is a very peaceful area.

“However, they have said today that the river must not be diverted, which is good news.”

Also from Muscliff, Lee and Sarah Riggs looked over the site, and were less appeased.

“There is a reason people have only built this side of the river for hundreds of years,” said Mrs Riggs.

“The whole area floods – it is like a lake for three or four months of the year, added up.”

Her husband added: “If there is a quarry there for 10 years, they will be asking permission to put landfill in there afterwards.”

The Mineral Sites Plan is being produced by Dorset County Council, in partnership with Bournemouth and Poole councils.

It outlines 44 possible sites suggested by the minerals industry and landowners.

A combined waste management scheme developed by the three councils is also under consultation, focused on making it easier for people to recycle.