If you’ve driven through Wootton Bridge lately you can’t help but to have noticed the numerous red and yellow poster boards in front gardens with the word ‘WAGE’ splashed across the middle.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the posters are for an election campaign but on closer inspection ‘WAGE’ isn’t the name of a power-hungry local Woottonite looking to get a seat at County Hall.

It's actually an acronym standing for ‘Wootton, Whippingham and Arreton Against Gravel Extraction’ — which in theory should make the acronym WWAAAGE but it’s not quite as catchy and you would sound as though you had a stammer when talking about it.

It transpires that a recent planning application has been submitted to the aforementioned County Hall by Wight Building Materials, who are wanting to extract gravel from Palmers Farm in Brocks Copse Road over a ten-year period, using two lorries a day making numerous journeys from the gravel site to St George’s Down in Blackwater.

If the number of WAGE boards on display are a true reflection of the feelings of the Wootton Bridge locals, then the majority are clearly not in favour of gravel being extracted from an area directly opposite the site of the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, where Bob Dylan performed to an audience that included John Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon and George Harrison, but the question is, are the Wootton residents right to object to this application or is this a classic case of NIMBY (Not in my back yard)ism?

The arguments being put forward by the WAGE campaigners include: environmental concerns, noise and pollution impacting on residents and the unsuitability of the roads.

On closer inspection, these arguments do look like a classic case of NIMBYism, especially as many of the houses that have a WAGE board in their garden also happen to have either a gravel driveway or some other gravel feature on display.

I guess their argument would be that just because they use gravel, doesn’t mean they want to live next to a site, which of course is a fair enough argument — I use coal, but I don’t want to live opposite a coal mine — but gravel has to come from somewhere and reserve stocks of the stuff are apparently running very low at Wight Building Materials headquarters (aka Bardon Vectis to you and me) so are these concerns valid enough for the planning committee to reject the gravel extraction application at Palmers Farm in Wootton?

Well, I for one don’t buy into the environmental concerns — it’s an objection reason that is rolled out by NIMBYs on virtually every application that ever gets submitted to planning committees, and this gravel site is just a non-descript field in the middle of a farm that can’t be seen from the road.

I also don’t buy the noise and pollution impacting on residents argument — there are absolutely no immediate neighbours to the gravel site, and what possible pollution is created by digging?

The one valid argument that WAGE do seem to have made is the unsuitability of the road.

The proposed access to the gravel site is in Brocks Copse Road, which is a B-road without pavements or street lighting, that links Palmers Road in Wootton to Whippingham.

Brocks Copse Road is part of the coastal path and as such, it is used by numerous walkers and cyclists, who already take their lives in their hands by using this narrow and winding road, without having the added fear of having to avoid 50 gravel lorries a day.

For this reason alone, I’m with WAGE, but the problem remains that we do need gravel, and this particular site is one of the few left on the Isle of Wight, so it would make sense to extract it, whether the NIMBYs like it or not.

The obvious solution is to access the site not via Brocks Copse, but at the end of Palmers Road, where planning has already been granted for 40-plus new houses.

The residents are going to have plenty of lorries trundling along there for quite some time, so they may as well take this time of disruption to kill two birds with one stone — or several million stones in this case.

I really ought to get myself onto the council, I could sort the Isle of Wight out in days…now, what’s happening with that floating bridge?