Council set to approve plans for a new quarry in Ottery St Mary

Haldon quarry extracting sand

Haldon Quarry in Devon was also used for sand and gravel extraction. - Credit: Geograph.

A 100-acre quarry in Otterly St Mary is set to be approved this week by Devon County Council.

Officers have recommended approval for plans which would see up to 1.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel dug up at Straitgate Farm on Exeter Road over the course of 10 to 12 years. The materials would be transported 23 miles by road to Hillhead Quarry, in Mid Devon for processing.

Some local residents are concerned about the local environment. There is also anger over the amount of CO2 that could be released to transport the materials. 

DCC’s development management committee will meet this Wednesday (1 December)

Otter Valley councillor Jess Bailey (Independent) said she is “horrified” by the current recommendation for approval and is urging her colleagues to reject the application.  

jess bailey independent

Councillor Jess Bailey stands on Birdcage lane, near the planned entrance to the new quarry. - Credit: Jess Bailey

Cllr Bailey said: “If the quarry proposal is approved, it will have a devastating impact on our community. As the ward member, I shall be strongly urging the planning committee to reject the officials’ recommendation and vote against the quarry.”

She argues that the quarry “flies in the face of the climate change emergency,” adding, “It is hard to believe that in this day and age we are still contemplating such a level of environmental destruction.”

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Straitgate Action Group, a campaign group, says they will be protesting outside of Devon County Hall ahead of the vote.

The processing plant at Hillhead was built in 2018 with planning permission granted for processing material within its 91-hectare quarry area. Further planning permission is needed when bringing in material from elsewhere such as Straitgate Farm.

One of the proposed conditions for planning permission is to widen Clay Lane near Hillhead Quarry to allow two-way traffic. If given the go-ahead the operation will lead to up to 86 loads of gravel and sand being transported between the sites each day.

The decision is going to DCC as it is the ‘mineral planning authority for the area. A mineral planning authority can be an upper-tier council, a unitary authority, or a national park authority. 

If granted, Aggregate will have three years to start the operation.