Straitgate quarry objections to be considered at examination hearing

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view - Credit: Archant

Devon Minerals Plan will be scrutinised by government inspector next week

The inclusion of a proposed 100-acre quarry site near Ottery St Mary in the emerging Devon Minerals Plan will come under scrutiny next week.

A series of examination hearings, conducted by government inspector Andrew Freeman, are scheduled at County Hall in Exeter to consider objections and establish whether the document is considered sound and legally compliant.

Straitgate Farm, Ottery St Mary, is currently earmarked in the plan as a suitable site for the extraction of sand and gravel despite persistent objections from campaigners, the town council and members of the community.

The emerging Devon Minerals Plan provides a blueprint for sourcing the region’s mineral supplies until 2033 and underwent a consultation process in the autumn of 2015.

County councillor Claire Wright has appealed to Devon County Council to strike Straitgate from the draft plan.

She has argued that the site is unworkable as the current application from Aggregate Industries to quarry there relies on the processing being carried out at Blackhill Quarry, Woodbury – land that has not been included in the minerals plan.

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The hearings will take place from Tuesday, May 24, to Friday, May 27, starting each day at 10am, with the Straitgate Farm slot scheduled for 2pm on Wednesday, May 25.

Questions to be considered include:

1. What are the circumstances that have led to the selection of Straitgate Farm as the one specific site for sand and gravel extraction?

2. Is the site specific designation of Straitgate Farm unsound?

Participation will be limited to people that responded to last year’s consultation and have already requested to take part, although anyone can attend to observe the hearings.

A DCC spokesman said: “The plan aims to maintain the supply of the wide range of mineral resources produced in Devon, while minimising adverse effects on Devon’s communities and environment.

“While some of these resources have adequate reserves to last beyond the next 18 years, it is necessary for the plan to propose some new areas for working to ensure supply.”

The emerging plan will eventually replace the existing Minerals Local Plan of 2004 and it is anticipated that it will be adopted by the end of this year.

The programme for the hearings and all supporting information is available on Devon County Council’s website: