A QUARRY looks set to expand by the size of 22 football pitches, safeguarding 110 jobs.

Stanway Quarry, in Warren Lane, could be extended by a fifth into neighbouring Fiveways Fruit Farm.

Lafarge Tarmac has revealed part of its adjacent 190-acre quarry has come to the end of its working life.

It says the 38-acre expansion, extracting just under 3million tonnes of sand and gravel over six years, is needed to maintain its presence in Stanway.

Residents say the extension is too close to their homes, but would prefer to see a quarry than houses.

Peter Thompson, of Stanway Green, which backs on to the Fiveways Fruit Farm site, said: “The quarry shouldn’t come to the full extent they have planned.

“It should be restricted to a line of poplar trees on the land, which would act as a buffer to sand and dust. Frankly though, I would rather see a quarry than houses.”

David Millin, of Stanway Green, said: “I would rather see a sand pit for a few years than I would a lot of houses.

“If you build houses, you have got to get the infrastructure.”

Residents have been invited to a public exhibition about the plans at Stanway Rovers Football Club on Thursday, from 8am to 7pm.

A planning application will be submitted to Essex County Council later in the year.

Simon Treacy, estates manager for Lafarge Tarmac, said: “The event will give people an opportunity to view our proposals and ask any questions.

“We have enjoyed a positive relationship with local people and businesses, many work for us or with us to supply products and services.”

Anyone unable to attend can see the plans at lafargetarmac.com/stanway, which will go live on Thursday, or e-mail stanway.feedback@lafarge tarmac.