East Devon landowner defends planning application for former quarry site

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 February 2018

Blackhill quarry. Ref exe 06-16TI 0666. Picture: Terry Ife

Blackhill quarry. Ref exe 06-16TI 0666. Picture: Terry Ife


Clinton Devon Estates says that an application to build new industrial units represents two per cent of the former Blackhill Quarry site, currently undergoing heathland restoration.

A landowner hoping to build new industrial units on a site designated to be returned to heathland has defended its planning application.

Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) has submitted a proposal to expand the business facilities into the site formerly used by Aggregate Industries, on Woodbury Common.

The site had been due to be vacated by the company at the end of the year at which point it would return to heathland.

If the planning application gets given the go-ahead, three new industrial units could be built on the site.

The proposal has drawn opposition from residents and amenity campaigners who say ‘repeated promises’ have been made to restore the land.

The Otter Valley Association (OVA), which has campaigned for quarry operations to cease for many years, has objected to the application, saying the site is a ‘highly protected’ area, surrounded on three sides by a European Special Area of Conservation.

But in a statement, CDE claims that the new application covers just two per cent of the quarry site.

A spokesman said: “Clinton Devon Estates would like to clarify that a planning application which it has lodged with East Devon District Council represents an area of less than two per cent of the former Blackhill Quarry on the edge of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths (EDPH), which is being fully returned to nature.”

Gravel extraction at the site ended in 2011, at which point the restoration and aftercare scheme was drawn up.

It had been expected this would be completed by the end of 2017, but Devon County Council granted an 12-month extension in December.

CDE claims that under the terms of the scheme, it was agreed that a planning application could later be lodged to consider alternative uses of the site.

Leigh Rix, head of property and land at CDE, added: “Prior to submitting this application, we commissioned a comprehensive ecology report, which shows that, because the application involves replacing existing industrial equipment, the work is unlikely to impact on nearby designated sites.

“Nevertheless, we will be implementing an ecological mitigation plan.”

Concerns were also raised by residents in neighbouring Woodbury Salterton about the potential impact on traffic in the area.

Mr Rix added: “Studies have shown that the traffic generated by the new use would be less than that associated with the previous quarrying work.”

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