Bepton residents came out en masse yesterday evening to oppose the inclusion of sand extraction sites at Severals East and West in the WSCC/SDNPA Minerals Plan. The sites are, of course, where the SDNPA and the Cowdray Estate recently created a Heathland Corridor to “increase the diversity … and viability of the various populations present on the heaths”.
Bepton Parish Council’s meeting yesterday evening at The Park House was a lively affair with over 50 residents present to register their objections to the inclusion of sites at The Severals in the WSCC/SDNPA Minerals Plan. SDNPA Member Cllr David Burden addressed the meeting and urged local residents to be vigilant. He encouraged people to take part in the process and ensure that their views were put across based on evidence and facts. Cllr Anne Reynolds, Chairman of Woolbeding with Redford PC, in whose Parish the Severals sites are located, also attended the meeting. Anne described Woolbeding’s approach and the way that Bepton and Woolbeding had been co-operating. Both our County Councillor, Gordon McAra, and our District Councillor, John Cherry, spoke objecting to the inclusion of The Severals sites. The local Action Group was well represented and there were villagers present from all parts of this small, but dispersed, village.
Strong feelings were expressed by local people, together with a determination to fight the inclusion of The Severals sites. Following the meeting the Parish Council finalised their response and sent it this morning to the Minerals Team at WSCC. To see a copy of the response, please click on BPC Response to MSS.26 Sept (v.2).
Trevor Beattie, the SDNPA CEO, has said that following the current consultation on the Mineral Sites Study, WSCC/SDNPA will use all relevant comments received to update the information in the Study. Some sites may fall away at this stage. The remaining sites in the Study will then be put forward for more detailed technical assessments (sustainability appraisal, habitats regulations assessment, landscape sensitivity and capacity study, transport assessment and strategic flood risk assessment).
The outcome of the technical assessments will be published and made available in an updated version of the Mineral Sites Study around December this year. There will then be a further engagement event in December to which all organisations that have commented will be invited. This will enable WSCC/SDNPA to obtain any further relevant information about the sites which, together with the technical and sustainability information, will help inform decisions about which sites are suitable for consideration as preferred sites at the Draft Plan stage.
The aim is to publish the final Minerals Plan by November 2016 but there are many stages to be gone through by then, including a Public Examination Hearing planned for April 2016.
We shall keep you updated via this website, the notice boards as appropriate and, no doubt, the local papers. In the meantime, do not hesitate to speak to your local Parish Councillors. And, as ever, we encourage Bepton villagers to attend the Parish Council meetings.