Criticism to West Hill quarry builds

The opposition continues to grow against plans to dig a new quarry in West Hill as local politicians add their voice to public concerns.

Devon County Council (DCC) is carrying out a consultation on future mineral extraction in the county this month, which includes the creation of a sand and gravel quarry at Straitgate Farm.

The proposals, by landowner Aggregate Industries, have caused uproar in the village, with a campaign group formed to fight against its approval.

And representatives from various political parties have come out against the plans, citing concerns over flood risk, traffic and whether it is even needed.

Local MP Hugo Swire has written to the leader of DCC Councillor John Hart, expressing his concerns about the quarry.

Mr Swire said: “It seems to me that those concerns are legitimate, not least the possible effect it could potentially have in the possibility of flooding of the town.

“It would seem somewhat regressive having spent a large amount of public money on flood prevention to then allow for a scheme which may contribute to future flooding.”

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Independent county councillor Roger Giles, who has campaigned against developing Straitgate for years, argued there was ‘absolutely no need for another quarry’, saying the sand and gravel reserves at Hillhead, coupled with the current extraction rates, mean they already have enough resource for 50 years.

The East Devon Green Party also attacked the level of quarrying proposed, blaming the ruling Conservative party at DCC, and branding them ‘pro-developer’.

Spokesperson Emily McIvor said: “Local Tories seem to think any building must be a good thing, even if it jeopardises the longer-term prospects of East Devon.”

And Edward Bloomfield, chair of governors at The King’s School, said they too have serious concerns about the proposed quarrying at Straitgate Farm.

He said the governors have considerable worries about road safety issues, as the proposed route for the quarry’s traffic passes directly in front of the school.

The public consultation ends on April 30, and there is a special meeting to discuss the Straitgate plans on April 26 at County Hall in Exeter.