Council quiet on important mineral document for Ottery

Town councillors were at a loss to come up with a response to a potentially very important piece of legislation on mining in the area.

The councillors were asked to consider a response to the Minerals Core Strategy Consultation produced by Devon County Council. The eventual document will outline the county’s policy for the extraction and use of mineral resources until 2031.

The consultation questionnaire refers to Straitgate Farm in West Hill as a potential site for sand and gravel mining in the future, which prompted several responses to the Town Council.

Monica Mortimer, who has lived with her husband Mark in a property adjacent to Straitgate Farm for over a decade, read out a statement at Monday’s planning meeting. She said that the farm has reserves of eight million tonnes of sand and gravel, and having spoken to Aggregate Industries who own the land, they plan to mine for at least 20 years if any application was approved.

She explained: “There will be around 100 20 tonne lorry movements every day.

“This innocuous-looking document could seal the fate for Straitgate and quarrying in Ottery.”

Mrs Mortimer also urged more people to engage with the consultation after a poor response to the last document.

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But most councillors were quiet on Monday’s meeting when it came to discussing an appropriate response, several of them admitting they did not have enough understanding of the document to properly debate it or what they were forming a response to, as the document does not contain a specific planning application.

Councillor Giles did speak on the matter however, and pointed out that demand for sand and gravel in the region was declining, and the reserves at Budleigh Salterton Pebble Beds would be more than enough to cover production.

He said: “There is no need for one there [at Straitgate], there is no need for one anywhere and if there was then we should continue at Budleigh.”

The council agreed to ask Cllr Giles to formulate a response to Devon County Council for approval at the next Town Council meeting. The consultation period finishes at the end of next month.