Plans to quarry the spot where a Second World War plane reportedly crashed in Doncaster have sparked anger.
A Lancaster bomber is believed to have plunged to the ground near Old Edlington, killing all seven men on board, after running out of fuel during a training mission in 1943.
The tragedy was covered up for many years before a memorial was installed in 2012 near to where the plane reportedly crashed on Little Cockhill Lane.
There are now plans to extend Holme Hall Quarry towards the historic village of Old Edlington, past the suspected scene of the crash, permission for which has already been granted.
Hope Construction Materials, which is part of the Breedon Group, says its own surveys have revealed no evidence of wreckage on the land.
The firm plans to extend its limestone quarrying operation in the ‘coming weeks’, though the suspected crash site falls within land earmarked for a later phase of work, for which no start date has been set.
It is also considering expanding further to an area known as Peterwood Farm, south of the M18, though this would require a separate planning application.
Dave Glover, whose research helped uncover details of the Lancaster crash, is determined to stop the work going ahead.
“The planned quarrying threatens not only hundreds of acres of prime farm land and beautiful countryside but also the bomber crash site, where it is highly likely human remains will still be present,” said the 73-year-old former engineer, of Old Edlington.
“What they’re planning is going to destroy Edlington if it goes ahead because they’ll be quarrying right up to the outskirts.”
Edlington Town Council’s outgoing mayor Rob Reid said the area’s rich history meant there was also the possibility of Roman artefacts being buried on land earmarked for quarrying.
“Old Edlington is steeped in history and we have to be careful we don’t destroy that for future generations, which is why we’re asking Breedon to take a little step back so we can properly review the situation,” he said.
“Hopefully we can all work together as a community with the quarrying company to find the best way forward.”
The Breedon Group must cease quarrying at the site by June 2025, according to the latest planning conditions, and finish restoring the land within two years of that date.
Stephen Jacobs, head of communications and marketing at the Breedon Group, said: “We completely understand the local community’s concerns about the possibility of airmen’s remains being buried in the area and are doing everything we can to establish whether that is the case, although records from the time indicate that all seven airmen received formal burials elsewhere.”
He added that the firm was following guidelines set out in the Protection of Military Remains Act (1986) and had voluntarily undertaken an archaeological survey of its land which revealed no evidence of the bomber wreckage.
He said it was happy to conduct a further survey should a specific location for the crash site be identified, and should wreckage be found it would apply to the Ministry of Defence for permission to excavate the crash site.