Scheme poses road threat

SIR - The April 30 deadline for comments and objections to Devon County Council’s proposal for a large new quarry at Straightgate Farm in Ottery is fast approaching.

Why on earth is DCC thinking of putting it here, on an unspoilt greenfield site on top of a small town, local hospital and schools, when there are already enough reserves for many years of quarrying at and around the existing Hillhead quarry to the north? Furthermore, this quarry has immediate and established access to strategic roads, the A38, the M5 and the North Devon Link Road, so the heavy traffic does not impose in any way on Uffculme town or its surroundings.

If, heaven forbid, the Straightgate site is given the go-ahead, 100 huge lorries each day will be causing delays and worse on the B3174 westerly route out of Ottery, transporting sand and gravel on through part of West Hill to Woodbury Common. There will be endless noise, dust, pollution and resulting health problems that will directly affect everyone in the town (the prevailing wind is westerly) and the surrounding residences, farms and businesses for many years to come.

Neither can Devon County Council guarantee that the underlying aquifer and its related springs will be unaffected. Any disturbance to these not only threatens local water supplies but may very well increase the risk of flooding in areas already vulnerable and badly hit a couple of years ago. Two adjoining areas of ancient woodland and their dependent wildlife would also be destroyed.

This hideous eyesore would be audible and visible from many miles around. It would drastically affect tourism and, therefore, the local economy, but not compensate in any way. Countless visitors come here each year to enjoy our unspoilt countryside and spend their money, but they certainly won’t return if confronted with the industrial dereliction this proposal would bring, blighting a previously unspoilt valley in a famously beautiful area. You know that stunning view to distant Dartmoor from the White Post car park? The quarry would be in direct line of sight from there, halfway up the side of the valley and highly visible from most of the rest of East Hill too.

Once the site is approved it’ll be too late to grumble, so please send your objections to DCC now; every one counts. You can e-mail them or write, and your local councillors can provide further contact details, useful time-saving links etc.

Jan Thatcher

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Ridgeway Farm, Ottery St Mary