Coleshill is a genteel, 14th century village in north Warwickshire, where residents live in a friendly, tight-knit community.

While a gardener mows the already immaculate bowling green, a mother walks her two young children home from school and a jogger enjoys a run with his dog.

Property here houses everyone from single professionals in £80,000 studio flats, to family-friendly three-bedroom semis from £190,000 to luxury multi-million pound pads.

But the atmosphere was far from idyllic when locals learned that nearby Hams Hall could become a nuclear waste dump.

Linda Walsh, office manager at Mills Briggs and Co estate agents, said: "I can't believe this. We've already had to fight various road plans and the mobile phone masts.

"This wouldn't be good for the environment, or the people living here. House prices are stable here but who knows what would happen if a nuclear dump was built down the road."

In Stars News Shop, on the High Street, customers were united in their opinion over the proposals.

Maria Connolly, a 39-year-old mother-of-four who lives in Coleshill, said: "I wouldn't be happy about that at all, I certainly wouldn't hesitate to take part in a protest or anything, whatever it takes.

"It's not just the effect on the environment, or even the people who live here now, but what about the damage it'll do to future generations. Putting that kind of waste in the ground will have long term effects."

Brian Sheppard and his wife June, who have lived in the village for over 40 years, also expressed shock.

Mr Sheppard, a 62-year-old care worker, said: "I'm gobsmacked, I can't believe it, I don't want anything like that on my doorstep.

"I know people say these things are safe now but that's what they said before the Chernobyl disaster, and look what happened."

Maria Connolly, the shop's manager, was almost apoplectic with rage. The 58-year-old, who moved to Coleshill in 2002, said: "That's dreadful. No, no, no. I would be vehemently against any such suggestion.

"I don't think Coleshill people, who are in the main born and bred here, will leave the area but even as a relative outsider I would hate to live anywhere near anything like that.

"Countries are turning away tankers of nuclear waste, so why should we allow it to be destroyed on our doorstep."

But Jane Kinnaird, a project manager who lives in nearby village Over Whitacre, claimed the "not in my backyard" brigade were over-reacting.

The 42-year-old mother-of-three said: "There will always be some risk but not enough for me to think my family or my home are at risk."