East Devon’s Development Management Committee to consider outline planning application for additional business floor space at Blackhill Quarry

An outline planning application, made by Blackhill Engineering, for the creation of up to 35,000 sq ft (3251 sq m) of additional industrial floor space on a 1.09 hectare site, historically occupied by quarry plant and machinery, situated off the B3180 at Blackhill Quarry, near Woodbury, is to be considered by East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee (DMC) at a meeting on 4 September 2018, at Knowle, Sidmouth.

Blackhill Engineering have been on the site for around 50 years, providing a wide range of machine engineering services, including large scale metal fabrication and complex machinery assembly. Initially this was for the quarry operations, but more recently they have taken on national and international clients, including those involved in the construction of Hinckley Point C in Somerset.

Although the proposed development would create in the region of 70 skilled engineering jobs, the site is located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and within the Pebblebed Heaths Special Area of Conservation. The council has received 193 letters of objection to the application, raising concerns about the impact on these designated areas as well as increased traffic, pollution and the unsuitability of the site.

Planning officers have assessed the economic benefits of the proposal and carefully balanced these against the concerns raised about the environmental impacts of the development, and have recommended that the application be approved, subject to a number of conditions, including the provision of 2.8 hectares of new heathland to mitigate any ecological impacts and to compensate for this part of the quarry site no longer being proposed for restoration. The proposed highway and visual impacts are considered to be acceptable.

The application details can be viewed in online applications on the East Devon website, just insert the application reference 17/3022/MOUT