Council fury over Straitgate quarry appeal

Aggregate Industries have launched an appeal after plans for a 100-acre quarry in Ottery were refused in December, town councillors have been told.

Adam Manning

According to Cllr Jess Bailey, Devon County councillor for the Otter Valley, The ’11th-hour appeal’ was submitted on Wednesday, July 1, before the bank holiday weekend. Cllr Bailey was speaking at the Ottery St Mary Town Council meeting on Monday (June 6).

Ottery Councillors all agreed they were ‘dead against’ the proposals for any quarry in Ottery St Mary and would fight against it. 

In December last year, Devon County Council’s development management committee voted against the plan for Straitgate Farm on Exeter Road, submitted by Aggregate Industries UK Ltd. 

The scheme would have seen up to 1.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel dug up on the site over the next 10 to 12 years, before being transported 23 miles by road to Hillhead Quarry in Mid Devon for processing. 

Reasons given for the refusal by the committee included the protection of heritage assets, unacceptable impact on water supplies, unresolved road safety issues, lack of evidence of protected species, lack of surface water management plan, loss of mature trees and the impact on climate change. 

After more than two hours of debate, there were five votes for rejection and three abstentions. 

Now Aggregate Industries has launched an appeal.

Cllr Jess Bailey, Devon County Councillor for Otter Valley and District Councillor for West Hill and Aylesbeare told the Herald: “I am strongly opposed to this controversial proposal and as the County Councillor spoke at the planning committee on 1st December 2021.

“The planning committee rejected the application, which officers had recommended for approval, based on my six grounds for refusal and added a further of their own based on the distance from the quarry to the processing plant.

“Now at the eleventh hour, Aggregate Industries have submitted an appeal. There is currently only very limited information available but the appeal is to be held by way of Inquiry which is anticipated to last for 6 days.

“I intend to continue opposing this highly damaging proposal. Ottery St Mary Town Council and West Hill Parish Council have always been opposed as have Straitgate Action Group and the county councillor before me Claire Wright.”

Aggregate Industries has been approached for comment.

Cllr Roger Giles told the meeting: “The Town Council have consistently rejected proposals for a sand and gravel quarry at Straitgate Farm, which would have a considerable detrimental impact for Ottery and the surrounding areas and is very disappointed to learn that at this late date, Aggregate Industries have launched an appeal and the town council resolves to participate in the appeal to ensure it is unsuccessful.”