ANGRY residents are up in arms over plans to extend a quarry near Romsey, believing it "will totally devastate the countryside".

The application, tabled by Raymond Brown Quarry Products Ltd, seeks to extend Roke Manor Quarry in Salisbury Road, Shootash.

If given the green light, around 600,000 tonnes of sand and gravel will be extracted from the Stanbridge Ranvilles Extension, according to a document submitted to Hampshire County Council (HCC).

Work on the site would start at 7am and finish at 6pm from Monday to Friday, while on Saturday it would begin at 8am and conclude at 12.30pm.

One frustrated resident claimed three 200-year-old oak trees will be axed, while others fear they will be forced to endure hours of noisy machines at work.

Others believe "ugly" piles of soil will ruin the view from a popular footpath if the plans get the go-ahead.

However, a spokesperson from Raymond Brown Quarry Products Ltd insisted the extension will secure work for their employees for another five years.

Richard Rudkin, who lives in Old Salisbury Lane, believes the work will "devastate the countryside" if the ancient trees are given the chop.

The 72-year-old explained: "I overlook the whole site they are applying to dig up, therefore I am really affected by it.

"They want to destroy historic hedges and three large oak trees that are at least 200-years-old; they seem to have total disregard for this by saying 'we will plant saplings', but if they do grow they cannot replant the oak trees, which will be gone forever."

He stressed dust could blow into his garden as a result of the digging, making it harder for him to enjoy a peaceful retirement.

He added: "The fact that at 7am we will have machines going until 6pm means we cannot enjoy the outdoors when there is dust blowing around from the machines."

Lizzi Brazier, who lives in the same road, fears the noise of heavy machinery will become unbearable if the plans are approved.

She said: "It will be right on our doorstep, rather than at least one field away as it is at the moment.

"We can hear the noise constantly now and if they then bring it to within metres of our home it will be unbearable."

The 60-year-old warned the area could be lit up like a "football stadium" when workers have to use lighting later this year.

Another resident who lives in Old Salisbury Lane, Colleen Hope, claims residents' mental health could take a hit if they are forced to listen to noisy machinery every week.

She explained: "My major worries are the noise and the visual impact, because when these lorries reverse they beep and you can hear that from miles away.

"We don't want to be guinea pigs for what are the real impacts on people's mental health if you live close to a quarry site."

She added countryside views next to a footpath could be spoilt if "five-metre high bunds of earth" are put next to it.

Ms Hope said: "They are really ugly and are great big, black mounds of earth, which will make it darker when walking along a footpath we use twice a day."

One resident who lives in Shootash, Sally Leach, believes walkers' view of the countryside along the same path will be blocked with bunds that could span for "approximately three-quarters of a mile".

A spokesperson from Raymond Brown Quarry Products Ltd said: "The extension area contains circa 600,000 tonnes of high quality sand and gravel, which, if approved, will secure supplies of aggregates to local construction projects and the livelihoods of our employees for an additional five years.

"[...] There is a clear and pressing need for additional mineral reserves to support the wider economy in this particular part of the county and Roke Manor Quarry is ideally placed to continue to meet that local demand."

They added: "The proposed extension has been carefully designed to minimise impacts on both the environment and the local community and, upon restoration, will be returned to agriculture with enhanced wildlife habitat, exceeding national standards for Biodiversity Net Gain."

The deadline for the public to comment on the application is June 11, according to HCC.