There is a planning application in to develop at quarry outside Ottery:
Futures Forum: Quarrying in East Devon > second Straitgate planning application considered
Not everyone is happy:
Straitgate Action Group
With an extensive report in the Western Morning News:
Protesters say new 100 acre quarry plan for Ottery St Mary is a '2.5million mile mistake'
By DanielClark | Posted: March 22, 2017
Straitgate Action Group protesters
Angry protesters have raised grave concerns about plans for a new 100 acre quarry on the edge of Ottery St Mary. The application, submitted by Aggregate Industries, seeks permission to extract 1.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel at Straitgate Farm, near Ottery St Mary.
But, on Monday night, Ottery St Mary town council's planning committee voted to formally object to the proposals, and an action group against the plans have said that it is unsustainable and have called it a 2.5million mile mistake.
The town council strongly objected to the proposals on the grounds of concerns about traffic, sustainability, flooding, water supply, wildlife and landscape issues, concerns about bird strikes and the needs for sand and gravel.
The objection says: “We have very great concerns about the planning application for a 100 acre quarry at Straitgate Farm and therefore strongly object.
“We have very serious concerns about the proposals to have laden lorries exiting the site and turning across a heavy flow of fast moving traffic and have very serious concerns about the ability of the applicants to deliver the promised and necessary road widening of Birdcage Lane between the site entrance and the B3174.
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“The material gained from Straitgate would be taken to Hillhead, near Uffculme, for processing – a round trip of 46 miles. This would be completely contrary to government guidance on sustainability and the proposals would result in a total haulage of 2.5m miles, totally at odds with sustainability guidance.
“The Minerals Plan has identified sufficient reserves of sand and gravel near Uffculme to meet the Devon Minerals Plans requirement. It makes no sense and would be extremely damaged to create and additional quarry when the need for sand and gravel can be met from the existing quarry."
Mark and Monica Mortimer, from the Straitgate Action Group, who both live close to the site, said: “The company is looking to put 172 lorries a day onto the main road into and out of Ottery St Mary, the B3174 Exeter Road to Daisymount - one every 3½ minutes - for much of the next 10-12 years. It intends to haul material all the way to Uffculme, 23 miles away, for processing - a staggering 2.5 million HGV miles in all.
“At a time when there are so many concerns about air pollution and climate change, these plans are not only unsustainable, but utterly irresponsible. Aggregate Industries have dropped their controversial plans to process on Woodbury Common, but these new plans make no sense either.
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“We urge people to raise any concerns they have, whether it's the impact on safety from HGVs on the B3174 Barrack/Exeter Road, whether it's the risk to drinking water supplies and flooding, the loss of kilometres of ancient hedgerows and risk to protected dormice, the visual impact on the AONB for 12 years or more, the risk to ancient woodland habitats or whether it's just the utter stupidity and unsustainability of hauling 1.5 million tonnes of as-dug material some 23 miles to Uffculme to be processed – 2.5 million HGV miles in total and is a 2.5million mile mistake."
The application, submitted by Aggregate Industries, seeks permission to win and work circa 1.5 million tonnes of 'as raised' sand and gravel at Straitgate Farm, near Ottery St Mary. The application includes for the creation of temporary overburden and soil storage mounds, creation of a new quarry access onto the public highway on Birdcage Lane, temporary change of use of an existing residential dwelling to an office/welfare facility and the phased restoration to an agricultural afteruse.
It says: “It is proposed that the mineral will be worked in a series of phases over a period of between 10 and 12 years. Mineral working would be carried out on a 'campaign basis', typically involving two or three working sessions or campaigns, each campaign lasting between five to seven weeks.
“The estimated annual tonnage of extracted materials from the site will be between 120,000 and 180,000 tonnes per annum. The proposed development would release 1.5 million tonnes of as-raised sand and gravel equivalent to 1.2 million saleable tonnes of quality aggregate into the Devon marketplace.
“The Straitgate mineral would be a direct replacement for material previously extracted from Marshbroadmoor and Venn Ottery and maintaining current markets supplied from Blackhill Quarry where the materials were imported into and processed. Mineral reserves at Marshbroadmoor and Venn Ottery are now exhausted.
“With the expiry of planning permission for mineral processing at Blackhill Quarry then sand and gravel extracted at Straitgate Farm would be transported 'as-raised' to an existing processing facility at Hillhead Quarry near Uffculme in East Devon some 23 miles north of Straitgate.
“The proposals with protect the jobs of the existing employees at Blackhill Quarry as they will relocate to Hillhead Quarry and periodically work at Straitgate during episodes of mineral working up to three times a year for between 5 to 7 weeks. The development will also support existing jobs at Westleigh Quarry, Uffculme Concrete Products Factory and Aggregate Bagging Facility as well as downstream jobs in contract haulage and the supply of goods and services.
“The emerging Devon Minerals Plan, which is highly likely to have been adopted by the time this planning application is determined, contains strong policy support for the extraction of minerals at Straitgate Farm. There can be no question that the planning application to work minerals at Straitgate Farm is consistent with the emerging development plan, which is likely to be adopted before this planning application is determined.
“The Applicant considers that this application, together with another planning application to import the minerals from Straitgate Farm into Hillhead Quarry for processing will result in a project with the ability to continue serving Devon's construction market demands while minimising impact on the environment and on residential amenity. There is strong planning policy support for the extraction of minerals at Straitgate Farm and it has been demonstrated that Hillhead Quarry is the only site available to the Applicant for the processing of those minerals. Straitgate Farm, Ottery St Mary, Devon Plan."
Devon County Council will make a decision on the plans.
Protesters say new 100 acre quarry plan for Ottery St Mary is a '2.5million mile mistake' | Devon Live
And here's a full objection from Ottery's County Councillor:
Objection to a 100 acre quarry at Straitgate Farm on the edge of Ottery
Friday, 31 March 2017 0 Comments by Claire
Here’s my objection. Huge thanks to Cllr Roger Giles and Mark and Monica Mortimer, who provided much of the information required.
Firstly, can I please highlight the excellent response to the planning application consultation from Ottery St Mary Town Council and Mark and Monica Mortimer, who have provided extremely well informed and detailed reasons why the planning application should be refused.
I object on the following grounds:
Lack of justification
Par 145 of the nppf states that councils must hold only a seven year sand and gravel landbank.
The production of sand and gravel in Devon has fallen consistently for more than 20 years because of the use of secondary aggregates and recycled aggregates. The introduction of the Aggregates Tax and the Landfill Tax has reduced the need for virgin aggregates. The Landfill Tax in particular has resulted in material which previously was landfilled, such as highways planings and construction waste, being used as aggregate and thus reduced the need for primary aggregates. Different building techniques has also reduced the need for sand and gravel.
The Minerals Plan has identified sufficient reserves of sand and gravel near Uffculme to meet the Devon Minerals Plan requirement. It makes no sense - and would be extremely damaging - to create an additional quarry, when the need for sand and gravel can be met from the existing quarry.
The access from Birdcage Lane onto to the B3174 (Barrack Road) means that 40 tonne lorries will be turning right across the traffic onto a fast road and travelling slowly up to the hill to Daisymount
Major underground watercourse
Aggregate Industries now state that they will not quarry as far down as the water table. Although it should be noted that this was most certainly the original plan put forward in 2012 as a proposal for the emerging minerals plan.
Aggregate Industries tests have found that to quarry into a major aquifer would be unacceptably environmentally damaging, as this aquifer concerned feeds ancient woodland (very rare wildwood perhaps dating back to the ice-age) at Cadhay Bog, in particular and also Cadhay Wood. The NPPF sets out protection for ancient woodland.
The revised plan to quarry less deeply, should still be of serious concern because the water table height varies and so the possibility of irreparably damaging the aquifer (recognised as vital by the Environment Agency as a major underground watercourse) remains a significant worry.
Trees and hedgerows
Dozens of veteran, possibly ancient deciduous trees are set to be felled to accommodate the quarry at Straitgate Farm. Over 2000m of ancient hedgerow is set to be lost (deemed as important under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997, resulting in a significant loss of habitat. Paragraph 118 of the nppf states that planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and the loss of aged or veteran trees, found outside ancient woodland. An EU protected species, dormice, have been found in hedgerows all over the farm.
Up to 172 lorry movements a day would take place between Straitgate Farm and Uffculme during 5-7 week campaigns, 2-3 times a year over 10—12 years. This is a 46 mile round trip and not in line with sustainability requirements in the NPPF.
It is doubtful that the applicants can deliver the promised and necessary road widening of Toadpit Lane (sometimes called Birdcage Lane) between the site entrance and the B3174. According to the planning application this is dependent on acquisition of land from a third party. An earlier proposal included the use of third party land - and the landowner was unwilling to allow his land to be used.
Four watercourses originate from Straitgate. In October 2008 a severe storm resulted in all of these watercourses causing substantial flood damage respectively at:
* Foxenholes, West Hill, and Salston Barton and Salston Ride, Ottery St Mary;
* the Thorne Farm estate, Ottery St. Mary; * Cadhay;
* and Taleford/Coombelake.
There could be interference with the water table might well exacerbate flood risk for these areas.
I am concerned to read in the Flood Risk Assessment document with the planning application in paragraph “Fluvial flooding from the River Otter was the main cause of the flooding at Ottery St Mary in 2008”.
This statement is completely wrong. There was no flooding in Ottery from the River Otter in 2008. There was substantial flooding in Ottery in October 2008, but it was not from the River Otter - see paragraph 3.3 above.
This wholly erroneous statement casts considerable doubt on the accuracy of the whole document, and gives no reassurance whatsoever about the numerous flooding and other water concerns.
Public rights of way
Pedestrians and cyclists do not appear to have been properly provided for. There are many walkers and cyclists who use Birdcage Lane and Toadpit Lane; there are two public rights of way which immediately adjoin the B3174 and Toadpit Lane crossroads. The applicants have offered a permissive footpath within the site running south - north. This will not be of use for many walkers, and as a permissive path could be removed at any time. If a footpath is to be provided, it should be a public right of way - which would exist in perpetuity.
Any quarry at Straitgate Farm could result in reduced water supply downstream, and causing considerable damage. More than 100 people are dependent on drinking water emanating from Straitgate; there is a real concern that the supply of drinking water might be polluted or curtailed;
Cadhay House is a Grade 1 Listed house east of (and downhill from) Straitgate. Cadhay is a very important element of the crucially important tourism industry on which Ottery is dependent. Cadhay residents and visitors and its tea rooms are dependent on the water supply from Straitgate. Cadhay has magnificent medieaval fish ponds, which are dependent on water from Straitgate;
Exeter Airport has long raised concerns about the danger of birdstrike, resulting from birds gathering at the quarry ponds. This is an issue which must be given very serious consideration.
Stratigate Farm is currently a successful and working dairy and beef farm – and has been for probably centuries. Ripping up 100 acres of prime agricultural land for quarrying could mean that a farm business, perhaps many centuries old, could be destroyed, which would be bound to have a negative impact on the local economy with the ceasing of local trading with suppliers and buyers.
Straitgate Farm is a grade II listed building. A quarry would have a significant adverse impact on the setting of the farmhouse, which would be left standing on an isolated plinth, if the application is approved. Par 134 of the nppf states that where a proposed development would lead to substantial harm or total loss of significance of a heritage asset, consent should be REFUSED unless it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest.
Straitgate Farm is on grade 3a land, which is classed as best and most versatile agricultural land in the nppf. Par 112 of the nppf states that local authorities should take into account the economic benefits of best and most versatile agricultural land. Where such development is deemed to be necessary, authorities should seek to use poorer quality land. The economic benefits of farmland remaining as it is, is clearly necessary for the future of Straitgate Farm.
A 100 acre quarry at Straitgate Farm would be clearly viewed from East Hill – an area of outstanding natural beauty. It would therefore, cause damage to the setting and character of Ottery St Mary.
There are overwhelming reasons to refuse this application. I trust that it will be.
To keep up-to-date with the news relating to the planning application for a quarry at Straitgate Farm, visit - http://straitgateactiongroup.blogspot.co.uk/
Objection to a 100 acre quarry at Straitgate Farm on the edge of Ottery - Claire Wright