Consultation over quarry plans on Ottery’s outskirts unearths concerns

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view - Credit: Archant

A consultation over plans for a 100-acre quarry on Ottery’s outskirts has unearthed a raft of serious concerns over the environmental impact and increased traffic.

But workers have said their livelihoods are at stake if the proposal for the project on land at Straitgate Farm, near the Daisymount junction, does not go ahead.

During a two-day public consultation this week, Aggregate Industries (AI) outlined details of plans as a prerequisite to a formal planning application.

The company proposes to use the B3180 past West Hill as the route for lorries to transport sand and gravel extracted from the quarry to its existing Blackhill site near Woodbury.

Councillor Roger Giles blasted the meetings as ‘a cynical tick-box exercise’ and said he had ‘great concerns’ about how AI has conducted its initial scoping exercise and subsequent consultation.

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He said: “Many respondents expressed serious concern about vitally important matters that were either not addressed, or not adequately addressed.”

West Hill councillor Jessica Bailey said: “I was told by a representative that the quarrying activities at Straitgate and the processing at Blackhill would generate 80 return journeys for lorries between the two sites each day. This worries me greatly - the safety aspects, the noise for residents and the environmental impact of so many large lorries making this journey so frequently.”

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Amid increased flood risk fears, AI said this ‘phase one’ of the operations will not affect the ground water level.

But Straitgate Action Group – set up to highlight the issues surrounding the plans – has criticised the information provided by the company.

The group’s Monica Mortimer said: “There are so many holes in AI’s story, you could drive one of its HGVs through it.”

She said the next phase of the plans will involve quarrying below the water table and has serious environmental implications.

Last week, AI claimed its proposed project would bring employment opportunities and an estimated £1million per year to the local economy.

Sidmouth resident Nigel Maeer, 33, works at Blackhill quarry and said it could be his job and livelihood at risk.

He said: “The quarry gives jobs to locals and look at the way Woodbury quarry was reinstated, you would never know.

“Yes, they can be horrible to look at, but it gets reinstated.”

AI’s South West estates manager, John Penny, thanked those who attended the public exhibitions.

He said: “We will ensure that all feedback gathered at the events is explored within our proposals so we can continue working in partnership with the local community.”

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