Plans for Blackhill Engineering expansion submitted

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

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

A planning application to expand Blackhill Engineering into the former quarry site has been submitted, depsite works to restore the site to heathlands on going.

An application has been submitted to expand the business facilities at the former Blackhill Quarry site.

Landowner Clinton Devon Estates has submitted the planning application to increase the operations of Blackhill Engineering into the site formerly used by Aggregate Industries.

If given the go-ahead, several new single-storey units would be built on the former quarry site.

The Otter Valley Association (OVA), which campaigns for environmental protection, had previously called for the site to be returned to heathland as soon as Aggregate had moved out.

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As part of the original planning permission to undertake quarrying works, the site must be subject to a restoration and aftercare scheme.

The plan suggests there might be a loophole which allows for redevelopment of the site.

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The planning support statement said: “There is provision within the restoration and aftercare scheme that in the area being considered in the current scheme, an alternative use may be sought by the landowner by way of a planning application and that this area need not be subject to landscape restoration.”

In 2016, the Journal reported that Aggregate Industries was intending to vacate the site at the end of 2017 and would be helping to restore the site to heathland.

A Devon County Council spokesman has confirmed that the company was given an extension by the county council to allow them to finish the job.

A county council spokesman said: “The lagoon area is still being restored to heathland but it will take slightly longer than first planned because the lagoon was not filled up as expected and the area needs to be made safe and stable.

“The revised timetable indicates that the plant should be moved and the site cleared and restored by the end of June 2018.”

A spokesman for Aggregate Industries said: “The plant is currently being dismantled for transportation to another Aggregate Industries site – this will be completed by the end of May 2018.”

East Devon District Council will make the final decision on the application.

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