Plans for quarry at Ottery St Mary REFUSED

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view - Credit: Archant

Plans for a 100-acre quarry in Ottery St Mary have been refused, despite having been recommended for approval by Devon County Council officers. 

On Wednesday, December 1, the council’s development management committee voted against the plan for Straitgate Farm on Exeter Road, submitted by Aggregate Industries UK Ltd. 

The scheme would have seen up to 1.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel dug up on the site over the next 10 to 12 years, before being transported 23 miles by road to Hillhead Quarry in Mid Devon for processing. 

Reasons given for the refusal by the committee included the protection of heritage assets, unacceptable impact on water supplies, unresolved road safety issues, lack of evidence of protected species, lack of surface water management plan, loss of mature trees and the impact on climate change. 

After more than two hours of debate there were five votes for rejection and three abstentions. 

The Independent councillor for Otter Valley, Jess Bailey, had campaigned vigorously against the quarry and said she is ‘delighted’ with the unexpected result. 

She said: “I am very pleased that the committee recognised the real risks that this application posed and threw it out.  

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“I am also pleased that the committee adopted my grounds for refusal in full. They include:  impact on drinking water, road safety issues, lack of surface water management, impact on listed buildings, removal of mature trees and 1.5km of important hedgerows, and lack of up-to-date protected species reports. The committee added a further ground for refusal based on lack of sustainability. “ 

Cllr Bailey thanked the councillors who had put forward ‘compelling’ arguments for the refusal at the meeting, and local residents who also spoke up against the scheme.    

She said: “This has been a long journey with the original application being submitted in 2015 and the latest one being live since 2017.  What we saw clearly today was that despite the time that has passed, Aggregate Industries have completely failed to resolve the longstanding issues.” 

She said she had promised local residents to fight the proposal ‘every step of the way’ and added: “In the event that Aggregate Industries resurrect the application in some way, I will continue to oppose this highly damaging proposal.”