• Standing room only at meeting to debate huge quarry

    3rd April 2012 | News | Claire
  • Devon County Council officer, Andy Hill presented a case for Straitgate being the preferred site for quarrying in the Ottery area. 

    He said that the there had already been about 30 objections from the area and expected more to come.

    He added that the justification for Straitgate Quarry was Cranbrook and ‘spreading the impact’ between Uffculme where there is an existing quarry and Ottery, where there is currently no quarry.  Something that I dismissed in my speech.  That is simply doubling the misery!

    Around 130 people were there to hear the presentation at Ottery Football Club and several made comments afterwards.  These were Monica Mortimer who lives next door to the land in question.  Also, Dan Jelly of West Hill Residents Association, Alec Sandison from West Hill and Nigel Brown who asked what arrangements would be made about water supplies as his family and many neighbours were supplied with water from an underground spring. 

    If the quarry goes ahead the water supplies are highly likely to be affected and may stop altogether, as it is directly on top of an acquifer. 

    Myself, Roger Giles and Jo Talbot declared prejudicial interests because our of our membership of Ottery Quarry Action Group.  This meant we were not allowed to debate or vote on a town council’s response to Devon County Council’s consultation.  However, we were permitted to speak for three minutes before leaving the room, which we did.

    Being the first to speak and leave the room, I did not hear anyone else’s speech, but I definitely heard the whoops and cheers after Roger had finished his speech!

    I understand that two members of the town council spoke.  Andy Watmore, a newly joined councillor just last night, who questioned Aggregate Industries economics of quarrying at Straitgate.  And also Paul Bartlett, who supported the proposal for a quarry, as he claimed that there would be jobs lost if the proposal was rejected.

    Ottery Town Council did not back proposals for a quarry at Straitgate, and voted unanimously against the plans, bar one.

    The next step is a meeting on Thursday 26 April at Devon County Council’s offices, County Hall, starting at 10am.  Members of the Development Management Committee will hear members of the public speak about their views on the quarry at Hillhead, Uffculme being extended … and also Straitgate at Ottery, being approved.

    Last night Andy Hill said this meeting would be invitation only to groups, to avoid hundreds of people turning up.  Roger Giles challenged this and said that residents should be allowed to attend if they wished. 

    Mr Hill then relented slightly and said that if people wish to attend they should email him.  Contact Andy at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    It would be useful also for Roger and I to be copied in to these emails.