Decision on Straitgate’s appeal funding deferred

A decision on whether Ottery St Mary Town Council will contribute towards the legal fees for an action group to fight a planning appeal relating to Straitgate Quarry has been deferred.

Adam Manning

At a town council meeting, councillors agreed to refer the matter of paying a contribution to the  legal costs incurred by the Straitgates Action Group to its financial committee.

Last month the Herald reported that a hearing has been launched by quarry firm Aggregate Industries after Devon County Council and Ottery St Mary Town Council rejected plans for the 100-acre quarry near Ottery St Mary.  

Concerns have been raised about footing the legal bill but the council has reiterated it’s support for the fight to uphold the original decision.

After the last town council meeting in July, it was agreed  that the Council`s CEO should seek further advice regarding the council contributing towards  the action group`s legal costs, and, if appropriate, carry out an online poll to gauge public opinion 

A six-day hearing for the quarry is set to take place at Exeter City Football Club from Tuesday, October 4.

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. 

Councillor Roger Giles said: “The strait gate action group have the same views as us on this, we think the same things they are fighting it and will participate in the hearing with their barristers and a water expert etc in October.

“It’s important we give them the right funding and its completely correct that we help fund it.” 

The matter is now deferred to the finance committee of Ottery Town Council.