Resounding ‘no’ to ‘horrific’ quarry

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view - Credit: Archant

Ottery’s community has united in opposition to a proposed 100-acre quarry that has been slammed as ‘shocking’ and ‘detrimental to the town’.

It was standing room only at a town council planning meeting on Monday when residents turned out to voice their fears over proposals submitted by Aggregate Industries (AI).

The company’s application outlines plans for the extraction of sand and gravel at Straitgate Farm – something that civic leaders unanimously opposed.

Talks were held in the Narthex Church Hall, West Hill, to accommodate the high turnout.

There is also a second proposal for the continued processing of material at Blackhill Quarry, Woodbury, which has sparked serious concerns over the increase in large lorry movements between the sites each day.

Speaking at the meeting, resident Alan Burrows said he has lived in the area for 75 years and generations of his family have farmed at Straitgate. He said he is hugely concerned about the loss of agricultural land.

“The visual impact will be shocking for the whole community and for visitors,” said Mr Burrows.

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Brian Clifford, a resident of Willow View Park, Whimple, said: “If this is to proceed, there will be health problems for the many elderly people in the area.”

Another Willow View Park resident predicted the impact of the quarry would decrease the value of his property by at least 50 per cent.

Monica Mortimer, of Straitgate Action Group – set up to oppose the plans – outlined how a quarry on the town’s outskirts would have a detrimental impact on the town and discourage tourists from visiting the current beauty spot.

She said: “AI’s gain will be Ottery’s loss.”

Speaking on behalf of the West Hill Residents’ Association, Dr Margaret Hall listed a host of objections, including a lack of need for the materials and a negative visual impact.

On the proposed route between the two sites, she said: “There would be significant levels of air pollution from up to 200 HGV movements-per-day.”

Devon county councillor Claire Wright added that AI’s ‘cheeky application’ is contrary to the Devon Minerals Local Plan.

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? ‘Resounding ‘no’ to quarry’. From page one.

Councillor Wright added: “The proposal to extend the life of Blackhill quarry for processing is contrary to local and national policy.”

Town councillor Jessica Bailey said: “I would like to pick up on the fact that it’s a particularly dangerous bit of road.

“I think it would be reckless to allow a planning application to be approved that would inevitably cause more accidents.

“I think it’s an horrific application and I’m very worried about what it would mean for West Hill and Ottery.”

Many town councillors also spoke out against the plans, with the impact on the Grade II listed Straitgate farmhouse, Grade I listed Cadhay House and environmental implications for the ancient Cadhay Bog all cited as concerns.

Cllr Roger Giles proposed the town council opposes the application - with all in agreement.

He compiled a full list of the objections to be passed onto Devon County Council (DCC), which will decide on the plan.

East Devon MP Hugo Swire this week joined the wave of opposition.

He submitted a letter to DCC requesting a meeting to discuss concerns about the application, which he says would have a ‘detrimental impact’ on his constituency.

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