Public vent anger with DCC over quarry plans

West Hill residents on the steps of Devon County Hall last Thursday, ahead of a public meeting on plans to build a new sand and gravel quarry outside the village at Straitgate Farm.

West Hill residents on the steps of Devon County Hall last Thursday, ahead of a public meeting on plans to build a new sand and gravel quarry outside the village at Straitgate Farm.

Archant

Campaigners battling against proposals for a quarry outside Ottery made their feelings known at a special consultation meeting.

Around 60 residents listened to more than a dozen representatives address Devon County Council’s (DCC) Development Management Committee on its mineral extraction policy.

Currently plans for future sand and gravel quarrying have been narrowed to two sites, Straitgate Farm near West Hill, and one in Uffculme.

It has prompted a furious response from residents of both villages, so DCC decided to hold a meeting for its committee members to listen to representations, the first time it has done so, at County Hall last Thursday.

A coach had been arranged to transport scores of concerned residents from West Hill, who heard first of all from representatives from Uffculme.

Diane Brendon from its parish council said sand and gravel extraction at the proposed site would change the entire community, and having already had 25 years of quarrying in the village, ‘enough was enough’.

Speakers from Ottery said spreading quarrying to the south of the county at Straitgate would not be halving the problem, but doubling it.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said the town council had made a resolution to fight the plans at Straitgate, saying: “It could change our town beyond recognition.”

Speakers from Ottery Quarry Action Group, the West Hill Resident’s Association, and Straitgate Action Group all argued vehemently against the plans.

District councillor’s David Cox, Claire Wright and Tony Howard, and county councillor Roger Giles, also spoke out.

Cllr Howard said the whole process was unfair, pitting one village against another, adding he feels like the area is being ‘targeted’ for development.

Cllr Wright said: “What I am struggling to understand is why the Straitgate Farm site, which by DCC’s own admission has significant environmental constraints, possibly more so than any other, is being backed by DCC as a site for quarrying.”

Andy Hill, the DCC minerals officer, said councillors will make a final decision on where to create a new quarry in the autumn.

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