Thursday, 28 January 2016

Quarrying in East Devon >>> Straitgate Farm site voted to be included in County minerals plan

The proposals for a quarry near Ottery St Mary have been recommended by County officials:
Futures Forum: Quarrying in East Devon >>> Straitgate Farm site recommended for County minerals plan
Futures Forum: Quarrying in East Devon: Aggregate Industries' latest proposals for Straitgate Farm site

These have now been approved by County Councillors.
Development Management (Agenda) - Wed Jan 27 2016

Here's the view from the campaign against:
Straitgate Action Group: Local democracy in action...

And here's the view from the County Councillor for the area:

Devon County Councillors vote to include Straitgate Farm in minerals plan as a quarry

Wednesday, 27 January 2016 2 Comments by Claire
Devon County Council’s development management committee today voted in favour of including Ottery’s Straitgate Farm in its minerals plan.
Around a dozen residents had come along to listen to the debate, at which I addressed the committee and urged them to defer it on the basis that a key calculation listed in the plan was wrong, and subsequently there is a risk that an important underground watercourse may be compromised. 
Disturbance of the aquifer could have catastrophic implications for people’s water supplies and ancient woodland. It could also damage mediaeval carp ponds at Cadhay House and cause flooding further down in Ottery St Mary.
Also a landowner who controls the access is opposed to any quarrying at Straitgate Farm.
The minerals plan states that 1.2m tonnes is proposed to be quarried at Straitgate Farm. This is a figure supplied by the proposed quarry operator, Aggregate Industries.  However, this amount has recently been found to include off limits aggregate that if quarried could compromise the aquifer. This was uncovered thanks to work by Straitgate Action Group, which brought the issue to the attention of the Environment Agency and Devon County Council.
Aggregate Industries has now admitted that they intend to quarry right down to the water table, breaching the strict limitations imposed by the Environment Agency and Devon County Council, both of which have required a 1m buffer between the watercourse and any quarrying taking place.
Importantly, the Environment Agency has not sanctioned this revelation, but has asked for more information.
I emphasised that this was a fundamental issue - and although the chairman asked that no specific sites should be discussed - I argued that that the plan could be found unsound if it wasn’t deliverable or contained incorrect information.
A lack of a viable processing site, as well as the landowner access opposition means that the allocation of Straitgate in the minerals plan may not be deliverable, which is a planning requirement.
Some members of the committee asked pertinent questions based on what I had said, however, others dismissed it.
An officer suggested that the planning inspector would sort out all these issues. He did admit, however, that Straitgate Farm was the only proposal where there were discrepancies over the amount of sand and gravel to be extracted and where there was a key landowner opposing the proposal. He said that there were other access options.
In the end the vote was five votes in favour and two against.  I wasn’t allowed to come back at the end to address some of the comments made during the debate, unfortunately, which was frustrating as I was going to point out that approving the minerals plan for inspection means that quarrying down to the water table had been implicitly approved, given that the 1.2m tonne figure in the plan meant including quarrying sand and gravel that should be off limits. 
A planning inspector is set to examine Devon County Council’s minerals plan in a public hearing later this year, possibly in the summer.
This is not the end!  I will be making representations at this hearing.
The planning applications for quarrying and processing, which have hit all sorts of problems, will also still need to be determined. It is so far on hold while Devon County Council planning officers seek yet more information.
It is item number 5 and speakers can be seen and clicked on, if you go to to the agenda item.
To keep up to date with the proposed quarry at Straitgate Farm, sign up to Straitgate Action Group here -http://straitgateactiongroup.blogspot.co.uk/
1. At 07:06 am on 28th Jan Carole Shepherd wrote:
Reading the report regarding the quarrying of Straitgate farm, I wonder how ever the DCC could vote in favour of A I proposals when so many misleading comments have been made by them.  I do not pretend to understand all the technical jargon ,but I do recognize when someone is spinning me a line , if the members of the DCC cannot see this its a bit worrying that these people make decisions for ordinary tax paying residents . 
Because of other commitments I was unable to attend the meeting but on reading what happened I’m glad I did not .
Thank you for reading this comment.
Mrs C . Shepherd.
2. At 08:17 am on 28th Jan Roger Giles wrote:
East Devon District Council had concerns about the inclusion of Straitgate in the Devon Minerals Plan, and had made an official objection to the Plan. However this did not stop East Devon Members supporting the Plan. The Leader of EDDC, Cllr Paul Diviani, is a Member of DCC’s DMC.  In supporting the Plan he went against the objection of his own council! Betraying his irritation he said that the time the Plan was taking was ‘driving me mad’.
Devon County Councillors vote to include Straitgate Farm in minerals plan as a quarry - Claire Wright.

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