RESIDENTS fear anthrax could kill people if builders disturb suspected contaminated land linked to a Tory lord near Bromyard.

Developers Johnson Brothers and Co Ltd, which is at least 75% owned by Conservative Party peer Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, has submitted plans to build five homes on land behind Woodhouse Farm in Edwyn Ralph.

But Thornbury Group Parish Council strongly objects to the scheme over fears the ground is contaminated with the bacteria which causes the potentially life threatening disease.

Speaking at this week's meeting, chairman Don Roberts said: “The land was potentially contaminated by anthrax burials.

“It came out in 2015 from a man who formerly farmed that ground that there were unmarked burials going back a long time.

“Anthrax does not go away. It kills people and animals. It’s water, soil and airborne. We are not certain where it is but the ground below is contaminated.”

Edwyn Ralph Residents Association chairman Ashley Ede said the plans before Herefordshire Council went against the village character and the design of the houses was appropriate for Slough but not rural Herefordshire.

He said conditions to plant an orchard ‘mysteriously’ disappeared from the previously agreed plans for homes on the site.

Councillor Alan Pitt thanked Mr Ede for enlightening him on the county council’s ineptitude.

“They are the most inefficient firm most of the people around this table deal with,” he said.

“If any of our businesses were run like theirs we would would go to the wall tomorrow.”

Residents have until August 23 to comment on the plans.