Date set for Straitgate Quarry appeal hearing

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view - Credit: Archant

A provisional date has been set for the Straitgate quarry appeal hearing. 

Aggregate Industries' appeal against the refusal of planning permission is set to begin on October 4. 

Straitgate Action Group is fighting the appeal and their estimated legal fees  are likely to be in the region of £60,000.

The Action Group has approached Ottery St Mary Town Council for a contribution towards its legal fees. Their  request  was discussed at the Town Council's meeting on Monday, July 4. There was concern raised by several councillors regarding the use of  public money for this purpose. 

The appeal was discussed at the town council's meeting on Monday, July 4. Although councillors plan to oppose the quarry, they also want to hear whether residents support or object to the proposal. 

Last month, the Herald broke the news that Aggregate Industries had appealed against the rejection of the planning application, which would have seen sand and gravel dug up from the site at Straitgate Farm off Exeter Road.

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The application had been rejected at the last minute by Devon County Council in December, despite having been recommended for approval by planning officers. Aggregate Industries were then given time to appeal, which they submitted on Wednesday, June 10. 

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Local district and county councillor Jess Bailey said: "Everyone is now aware the appeal has been submitted and the county council will be strongly opposing that at appeal."

The plan of appeal will be held by enquiry, starting on October 4, and will last six days. All the documents will be uploaded onto Devon County Council's website. Anyone can apply to speak at the enquiry as a section 6 witness, allowing you to speak and cross-examine the evidence given, and be cross-examined by others as well.

Cllr Sarah Martin said: "It's public money and we are making the assumption that all the public support the objection, which we need to find out."

Cllr Vicky Johns said: "I have grave concerns using the public money for fighting the legal battles. I have lived in Ottery my whole life and I would hate to see a quarry built in the town, it's a busy town on the roads at the best of times without lorries coming up and down."

Following much discussion, it was agreed  that the Council`s CEO should  seek further advice re the Council contributing towards  the Action Group`s legal costs, and, if appropriate, carry out an online poll to gauge public opinion