Plans for 100-acre quarry on Ottery St Mary’s outskirts ‘defy logic’

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view - Credit: Archant

Straitgate proposal examined by government inspector

Questions were raised and concerns reiterated as plans for a 100-acre quarry on Ottery’s outskirts came under scrutiny.

Straitgate Farm is currently earmarked in the Devon Minerals Plan as a suitable site for extraction of material and was one of the more contentious issues debated at an examination hearing in County Hall in Exeter.

A total of 199 modifications arose out of the series of scrutiny meetings conducted by government inspector Andrew Freeman – including a clarification on tonnage of sand and gravel potentially available at Straitgate.

The alterations will now go through a consultation before the minerals plan can be finalised. Once adopted, the document will form a blueprint for sourcing the region’s mineral supplies until 2033.

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Aggregate Industries’ (AI) proposals to build the quarry have met with fierce opposition from campaigners, councillors and members of the community.

The inspector grilled the company over access, where the material would be processed and the actual amount that could be extracted from Straitgate – a figure that is currently disputed.

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Speaking at the hearing, Councillor Roger Giles – a district and town councillor for Ottery – said: “Why is AI putting so much time and effort, and spending so much money, to open a new quarry to extract a totally uneconomic 0.9million tonnes of sand and gravel?”

He also questioned why the site was still included in the Devon Minerals Plan in the face of ‘show-stopping’ problems.

John Penny, South West estates manager for AI, confirmed the company would be re-submitting revised proposals to include a new quarry access route onto Exeter Road for the Straitgate site and alternative temporary soil storage areas.

Mr Penny added that access to high mineral reserves and local jobs were important elements in the Straitgate plan.

Campaigner Monica Mortimer, of Straitgate Action Group, told the Herald: “To destroy a productive dairy farm and incur all the associated risks and harm for 0.9million tonnes simply defies logic.”

Devon County Council expects to carry out further consultation on modifications to the plan from August 1 to September 23, following the necessary committee approval.

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