• Roger Giles challenged over quarry figures by councillors

    3rd May 2012 | News | Claire
  • Following his county council report to the Town Council, Cllr Paul Lewis labelled Cllr Giles’s statements relating to 50 years worth of sand and gravel being available at Hillhead quarry, as a ‘gross misrepresentation.’

    Cllrs Paul Bartlett and George Hansford agreed with Cllr Lewis, claiming that the sand and gravel at Uffculme would be used in other counties, not just in Devon. 

    Cllr Giles defended his calculations robustly, saying that he had studied the issue carefully and was absolutely confident that his statements relating to 50 years supply of sand and gravel, was correct.  In addition, the Landfill Tax and Aggregates Tax meant that the need for quarrying had declined over the past few years, as there has been an increase in the use of secondary and recycled aggregates.

    I told the meeting that at the Devon County Council meeting of the Development Management Committee last week, Cllr Bob Evans (who argued convincingly that there was no need for any extension to Hillhead quarry, nor a need for a new quarry), told the meeting that existing quarries in the Uffculme area had not been properly worked out.

    Later in the meeting Cllr George Hansford said that the campaign signs along the Exeter Road indicating where the proposed quarry would be located, should be removed on the grounds that they were distracting to drivers. 

    Cllr Paul Bartlett read out an apology for declaring a personal interest only at last month’s full council meeting, where proposals for a quarry at Straitgate were debated and rejected by most councillors. 

    Cllr Bartlett told Monday’s meeting that he had taken advice from Democratic Services at EDDC and had been told that he may have a prejudicial interest in the issue, as his pension is with Aggregate Industries. 

    Councillors with prejudicial interests must leave the room during the debate and vote of the agenda item that their interest is in.  At Ottery St Mary Town Council councillors with prejudicial interests are permitted to speak for three minutes prior to leaving the room, as this is the rule applied to public speaking. 

    Myself, and Cllrs Roger Giles and Jo Talbot declared prejudicial interests at last month’s meeting, relating to our campaigning against the proposed quarry at Straitgate Farm, and left the room before OSMTC debated the matter.

    More objections are on their way
    Myself, Cllr Roger Giles, Basil Herbert and Philip Algar spent some time on Wednesday standing outside McColls at West Hill handing out leaflets about proposals for a quarry at Straitgate and collecting names and addresses on objection forms.

    We found that most people had heard or read something about the proposals, but some were unsure about the detail or the implications of such a project.

    Most were very concerned and completed objection forms on the spot.  Some took away further information.

    The deadline for responding to the consultation has been extended until midnight Monday 7 May.

    Photograph:  The mature oaks at Straitgate Farm.