Friday, 23 September 2016

It looks like Rockbeare's out of the picture for good, as far as Straitgate is concerned

Further to "Has AI finally given up on Rockbeare?" and "AI's plans are still up in the air", it looks like the chance of Rockbeare ever being used to process material from Straitgate was well and truly ended this week, when planning application 16/1464/MFUL from Waycon Precast Ltd was approved by EDDC.

Waycon plans to lease the old concrete products site at Rockbeare from AI, replace the buildings and expand production, "to provide an updated state of the art concrete precasting works".

Readers will remember that it was only in May, at the Examination hearing, that an AI spokesman was telling the Inspector that it "wouldn’t wish to rule out the site" for processing material from Straitgate and would "look again" at Rockbeare if permission for Blackhill was not extended beyond 2016.

But as we wrote a couple of weeks ago, and just to show how much the company cares for the environment, AI is now ludicrously talking about processing Straitgate material at Uffculme - some 23 miles away - which would work out as an astonishing 2.5 million HGV miles and 4000 tonnes of CO2 in total. You wonder if there's any Minerals Planning in Devon, but good luck to AI with convincing the councillors and residents of Mid Devon of the merits of that scheme.

Why Straitgate’s sand and gravel is so much better than the millions of tonnes already permitted at Uffculme, also from the Budleigh Salterton Pebblebeds, only AI can say. For each Straitgate load to warrant a profit-sapping 46 mile round-trip, before any of the site development costs, it must be very special stuff. Is there gold in them thar fields??