Thursday, 14 July 2016

Has AI finally given up on Rockbeare?

Those who have been following the East Devon minerals debacle for some time might remember that as recently as 2014 Aggregate Industries was saying that the derelict concrete products plant at Rockbeare was being set aside as an alternative location to process any material from Straitgate.

Since that time, and although sand and gravel was once processed at Rockbeare, AI has claimed that the site is no longer suitable for processing on a number of fronts - lack of space for stockpiles and silt storage, lack of process water, even great crested newts.

However, at the Examination in Public in May, when pushed on the issue by the Inspector, AI said it "wouldn’t wish to rule out the site" and would "look again" at Rockbeare if permission for Blackhill on Woodbury Common was not extended beyond 2016.

And yet, only a month later, a planning application - which had obviously been in preparation for some time - landed on the desk of East Devon District Council from Waycon Precast Ltd, who wish to relocate from Plymouth and lease the site from AI: "16/1464/MFUL Replacement of existing manufacturing building with new factory building for precast concrete manufacturing".

How this would help AI "look again" at the site is unclear. How this would help AI "to find an alternative solution for when [Blackhill's] permission expires" is also unclear.

Or has AI finally given up on Rockbeare?