“I want to make sure that the applicants are clear that they will have a fight on their hands” - that’s the message from council leader John Halsall to miners at Bridge Farm.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) planning bosses chucked out a proposal to mine 3.6 million tonnes of sand and gravel at Bridge Farm, Farley Estate in August but the authority is gearing up for an appeal. 

The News understands a decision on whether applicant CEMEX, together with Bridge Farm bosses, will appeal the refusal will be made by the middle of October. 

WATCH: Councillor walks out of important meeting

Leader John Halsall has appointed former Highways chief councillor Pauline Jorgensen to a new role which will see her head up preparations with the "best legal team" against any case from miners.

He told the News: “I imagine an appeal will come in - there’s no reason not to think that it might be. 

“But even so, whether it might be or not, I’m going to be putting up the best lawyers I can find. 

“I’m one of the well-known tree huggers in the borough. 

READ MORE: Health risks questioned at Bridge Farm application

“I want to make sure that the applicants are clear that they will have a fight on their hands.”

After the proposal was refused the site was removed from a draft joint Minerals and Waste Plan set up with neighbouring authorities. 

Cllr Halsall added: “Bridge Farm has been on the minerals plan for Berkshire for some considerable time. 

“Given that the planning application has been refused, it is nonsensical for it to be on the minerals plan. 

“The issue with Bridge Farm is that twenty years ago Bridge Farm was in the country - there was nothing there. 

“It is now by residential properties and mining there would affect these properties. 

“It being in the minerals plan twenty years ago may have been right then, but it is not right now.”

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Cllr Halsall announced Cllr Jorgensen’s new role, which will be combined with a lead position on coordinating the council’s Brexit strategy, at a meeting on Thursday, September 19. 

Cllr Jorgensen will still retain some responsibilities from her Highways role, as leader John Halsall also takes on some aspects of the job.