Vow to ‘keep fighting’ 100-acre quarry proposals on Ottery’s outskirts

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view

Straitgate quarry plans aerial view - Credit: Archant

Disappointment from campaigners after councillors voted to keep site in Devon Minerals Plan

Campaigners vowed to keep fighting proposals for a 100-acre quarry on Ottery’s outskirts after a last-ditch attempt to scrap it from the Devon Minerals Plan failed.

A controversial application from Aggregate Industries (AI) to extract sand and gravel from Straitgate Farm has been met with strong opposition from the community and been blasted as ‘detrimental to the town’.

Disappointment was expressed this week after Devon County Council’s (DCC) development management committee (DMC) voted to keep the site in its minerals plan – which earmarks land suitable for future aggregate supplies.

Speaking at the DMC meeting on Wednesday, Councillor Claire Wright argued the inclusion of Straitgate in the plan makes it undeliverable. She implored members to consider deferring the matter.

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Cllr Wright said that opposition from one land owner who controls access makes the site undeliverable, as does the lack of a viable processing place. AI’s proposals rely on it processing material at Blackhill Quarry in Woodbury - land that has not been approved for inclusion in the plan. Cllr Wright also argued AI’s estimated 1.2million tonnes of material could only be achieved by quarrying down to the water table – which would have a detrimental impact on the important environmental area, affect water supplies and also pose a flood risk. She added: “I also want to point out the level of opposition in Ottery. Over the last four years, there have been hundreds of objections.”

DCC officer Andy Hill said: “It is correct that the planning application has thrown up certain constraints. We feel there is an expectation that the site is deliverable in some form.”

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On the amount of material, he said: “A definitive figure is not available but, if it’s less than expected, it is not fatal to the plan.”

Cllr Robert Vint suggested it is premature to go ahead with the plan in light of the points raised.

However, members agreed that a planning inspector will consider all of the points raised during the examination process and voted for the plan to be submitted to the next stage.

Monica Mortimer, of the Straitgate Action campaign group, said: “We will keep fighting. We are grateful to Claire for sticking up for the people of Ottery. The officers are only hearing one side of the story and they refuse to consider other points.”

Applications for the quarry at Straitgate Farm and a processing site at Blackhill are both yet to be decided by DCC.

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