A FORMER Wolves captain and artist is backing a campaign which is fighting to stop the building of a quarry near Kidderminster.

Footballer Jody Craddock is selling one of his oil paintings to raise funds for the Lea Castle Farm Quarry Action Group, who are opposed to the development of a planned sand and mineral quarry on the site.

NRS Aggregates Ltd is looking to occupy around 45 hectares of land between Cookley and Wolverley, which would extract 300,000 tonnes of sand and gravel per year before restoring the land once each stage of the operation is complete.

Applicants say materials from the quarry will supply aggregates to maintain local roads and build new housing, but residents are concerned about the effect it will have on green belt land, as well as the increase in traffic and the impact dust pollution and noise could have on local schools and businesses.

Now, Jody wants to help the group fund banners and leaflets to support their campaign, putting one of his oil paintings on sale for £500.

Jody told the Shuttle: "The proposal of Lea Castle Farm being a sand and gravel quarry is not only devastating for the local communities of Cookley, Wolverley and Caunsall, but also affecting the entire region of Kidderminster in so many ways.

"A huge concern is the health risks that it exposes the community to, in particular the dust pollution. It is widely accepted that sand quarries create silica particles which are easily inhaled, potentially leading to respiratory diseases such as silicosis and even increased risk of developing lung cancer.

"There are five schools in close proximity to the proposed site, what will we be exposing our children to?

"As a parent who has already had to deal with a child battling cancer, you realise how priceless our health is."

Jody also raised concern for increased traffic and how the plans will affect the green belt.

A spokesperson for the action group says it's "absolutely brilliant" that Jody has voiced his support.

"Few people realise Jody is a well known artist," the spokesperson said.

"It's not just the fact he has done this painting, it's the fact he is prepared to put his weight behind the campaign with his name reputation. That speaks volumes."

Ian Pearson, Estates Manager for NRS Aggregates, said: “Our proposals would help deliver the sand and gravel needed to build infrastructure for the county.

"These materials are in short supply in Worcestershire, which is why the site has been allocated Preferred Status by the Council in the draft Minerals Plan.

“We recognise that people have concerns about the proposals but want to reassure them that our operations would not pose a health risk to residents.

"We would have to meet stringent conditions that are set and monitored by the Council and the Environment Agency.

“We would put in place a series of effective mitigation measures – such as buffer zones, bunds, spraying and wheel washes – as is industry best practice and as we have done at the other quarries we operate.

"This would ensure that this quarry is run to the same high health and safety standards as our other operations in the Midlands”.