Gillian Keegan MP visits The Severals

Last week, Gillian Keegan MP visited The Severals to see for herself the area proposed for sand quarries. The local campaign group have issued the following press release:

 “ As the deadline for responses to the Joint Minerals Soft Sand Consultation draws to a close (deadline 18 March) groups opposing the quarries have joined forces.
Representatives from Bepton, Woolbeding and Redford, Trotton, Stedham and Iping and Rogate Parish Councils along with Midhurst Town Council met with local MP Gillian Keegan last Friday. The meeting was also attended and arranged by the local action group Severals Against Cowdray Quarries who have been conducting a lobbying and media campaign against the quarries.

The group raised joint concerns over new quarries at the Severals and Minsted which would affect a huge number of constituents in the Midhurst area and on potential HGV routes through Trotton and Rogate. Midhurst already breaches EU Air Quality Standards and the possibility of another 200 lorries going through the town every day could cause serious health problems.
 G Keegan + Parish + Group
Front row left to right Mairi Rennie (Rogate PC), Loppy Gibson (Severals House, Woolbeding resident), Philippa McCullough (Woolbeding resident), Gillian Keegan MP, Katherine Steele (Bepton resident), Margaret Guest (Midhurst Town Council), John Beckett (Bepton PC),
Back Row David Edmondson (Stedham/Iping PC), Adrian Waddams (Minsted Residents Group), Adrian Hearle (Woolbeding/Redford PC), Alex Gibson (Severals House).
The beautiful Grade I listed bridge at Trotton is under tremendous pressure already from the number of current HGV’s and the narrow ‘pinch-point’ in Rogate by the church causes regular tailbacks and build-up of diesel fumes as lorries wait to drive through. The bridge at Trotton was built as early as 14th C and is one of only 200 medieval five arch bridges like it left in the country.

Other concerns discussed with Gillian included clarification on realistic figures on the need for soft sand for the building industry as figures quoted in the consultation varied considerably. Also the fact that West Sussex exports in the region of 1.8m tonnes of sand to other counties, which is similar to the amount considered it needs – so, if we stop exporting sand to other counties could we be self-sufficient? If more soft sand is required there is also the possibility of using marine sand which most other parts of the country do, but not the south-east.

Gillian spent two hours listening and asking questions of the group before agreeing that further investigation was needed before considering creating new quarries in the South Downs National Park.

 Gillian Keegan commented: 

‘It was great to meet with representatives from across the community about this important issue, many of whom I worked closely with when I served as a District Councillor. I will be continuing discussions with the South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council to further understand the implications of soft sand extraction and express the concerns that have been raised by the community.
I advise people to have their say in the consultation process before it closes on the 18th March.’
Issued by Severals Against Cowdray Quarries “
Don’t forget to have your say in response to the consultation. Details of how to do it are here.

Elections for Bepton Parish Council


Elections for Bepton Parish Council will take place on 2nd May 2019. Bepton will elect seven Councillors to represent the Parish.

Parish Councils play an important part in local government. They are the first tier of local authority and work along with other tiers of local authority. In our area, Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council are the next two tiers.

We welcome people who are interested in standing for Bepton PC. It is your opportunity to take part in your local community. There are no qualifications necessary, except the normal electoral ones. And it is important that the Council reflects the diversity of the community. There’s a link here to a list of the responsibilities of Parish Councils.


If you are interested in standing for the Council, come along to the next Bepton PC meeting on 21st March at 7pm in the Park House. Or, if you can’t make that, have a word  with one of the current Councillors. Their contact details are on this website.

Nomination forms for the Council elections can be obtained from;

Howard Ewing, Three Bepton Grange, Bepton, GU29 0HZ (tel: 07958 316552).

The formal notice of election: Parish Council Election May 2019.

BBC South Today visit The Severals

The local residents’ campaign group, ably led by Katherine Steele and Philippa McCullough, arranged to have Jo Kent from BBC South Today visit The Severals to talk about opposition to the proposed Sand Quarries.



The campaign group invited the Chairs of Bepton Parish Council (Howard Ewing) and Woolbeding with Redford Parish Council (Adrian Hearle) to join them. Jo Kent interviewed the Parish Council Chairs along with Katherine and Philippa and Loppy Gibson, who lives at Severals House.

The item appeared on the lunchtime, evening and late news yesterday. You can see it on BBC iPlayer for about 24 hours. In the player search facility look for BBC South Today News (13th March) and you’ll find all three episodes (all three are slightly different).




Severals Sand Quarries: Consultation Deadline is 18th March 2019

Brexit isn’t the only thing with a deadline this month. You have only a fortnight to respond to the consultation exercise on the Soft Sand Review which includes two sand quarries at Severals East and Severals West.


How can I make my views known? Complete the form which you will find here. It may look daunting and it does ask technical questions. If you don’t feel able to complete these, don’t worry. Just complete Q.5 about the Severals sites. But don’t forget to include your personal details at Section A. And we are told that they will accept an email reply. The email address to send your comments is :


There is more information in these pages on this website about how to respond.


Severals Sand Quarries: Campaign Group Acts

As mentioned in previous posts, local residents from Bepton and Woolbeding have formed a campaign group to argue against the proposed Severals East and Severals West Soft Sand Quarry Sites.

The sites are included in the consultation of Issues and Options of the joint South Downs National Park Authority/West Sussex County Council Minerals Plan (Soft Sand Review).

The campaign group have covered a large amount of ground and have provided us with a summary of what they have done, which will be of interest to Bepton residents.

” Katherine Steele said: We are grateful to Bepton PC for allowing us to publish, on their website, this summary of our action.


So far, we have :-

formed Severals Against Cowdray Quarries Group;

co-ordinated efforts with Bepton and Woolbeding with Redford PCs and are now engaged with Trotton, Stedham & Rogate PCs;

welcomed the letter which the Chairs of Woolbeding with Redford PC and Bepton  PC wrote to Lord Cowdray, although we were disappointed with the response;

provided material to update info on the Bepton PC website;

used our resources to better understand the analysis underpinning the Consultation Document. For example, going through the  RAG document (red, amber, green) with input from experts – environment, geology, flora and fauna etc and engaged with the Minsted minerals expert. This will help inform responses from individuals and the Parish Councils; 

attended two Midhurst Town Council Meetings – they will now robustly oppose & write to Cowdray;

written to Lord and Lady Cowdray, Trevor Beattie CEO SDNPA, the National Trust and the Sussex Wildlife Trust. The latter two organisations have said that they will oppose;

had excellent support from our WSCC Councillor Dr. Kate O’Kelly, who has facilitated a meeting with our local MP, Gillian Keegan, with a Councillor from each of the five local Parish Council, Midhurst Town Council &, of course, our County Councillor;

created and distributed 2,700 “Say No” leaflets through the Midhurst Local; handed them out at the Severals, to Doctors and local cafes;

placed “Say No” posters at strategic places;

created a Facebook Page “Stop The Quarries” – regularly updated by social media expert and us; and

engaged with the Midhurst & Petworth Observer resulting in several articles:  Parish Councillors and WSC Councillor working together; poor negative response from Cowdray Estate to parishes letter to Lord Cowdray; and one describing the plight of
the Gibson family at Severals House.

We are also proposing an article about pollution monitoring and specifically the higher pollution levels due to increased lorry numbers. And we are organising a petition.

We would welcome any feedback, help, technical expertise, or contributions. Contact Katherine Steele. “

Bepton PC will try to keep you updated on developments through this site. Previous posts give links to the consultation document and information on how to respond. As ever we welcome feedback.


Locals Oppose Severals Sand Quarries

Local residents are working hard to oppose the Severals Sand Quarries.


Sand Quarry

A number of Bepton residents, and two Bepton Parish Councillors, attended the Planning Committee of Midhurst Town Council to make known that they oppose the proposed Sand Quarries at the Severals. Both Philippa McCullough and Katherine Steele, who are co-ordinating local views, spoke at the meeting. They were pleased to note that Midhurst Town Council agreed to oppose the proposals. They have also been in touch with a number of people and bodies and will be publishing an information leaflet soon.

Bepton Parish Council’s latest BPC – Winter 2018-2019 Newsletter focuses on the issue and lets people know how they can make their responses.

Both Bepton Parish Council and the local campaign group welcome any thoughts or expertise to help in formulating their responses to the consultation. Contact any of the Councillors or email Katherine Steel.

How to respond to Severals Sand Quarries Consultation

Say no to Midhurst The Severals Bepton Sand Pits Excavation

We have had feedback that people are finding the request for responses to the Joint SDNPA/WSCC Soft Sand Review a little off-putting. The way the questions are framed is quite technical and we have been asked how can people respond to these without being an expert.

While SDNPA/WSCC would prefer people to complete their on-line form, they have said that they will accept letters & emails which contain representations and views on the proposals. However, although the form might appear daunting, it is worth looking at Question 5 of the form, which asks:

“Do you have any comments on the nine shortlisted sites identified in the Issues and Options Consultation Document?”

That question will allow you to put views forward on the sites we have focused on: Severals East and Severals West. You can, of course, comment on any of the other sites.

In case it is useful, here’s a link to a 2014 post which includes a further link (bpc-response-to-mss-26-sept-v-2 ) to Bepton PC’s response the previous time these sites were proposed. Locals might recall that, about that time, there was a notice at the Severals heralding the work that Cowdray and SDNPA were doing on creating a Heathland Corridor.

photoThat notice is no longer there and it appears that the Severals are no longer part of that project.

If you have any queries about this, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the Parish Councillors.

Councillors work together to oppose Severals Sand Quarries

Say no to proposed Bepton Sand Pits

Councillor Kate O’Kelly (West Sussex County Council), Councillor Adrian Hearle (Chair, Woodford with Redford PC), and Councillor Howard Ewing (Chair, Bepton PC) met at the Severals yesterday to look at the area to be affected and discuss working together on opposing turning Severals East and West into sand quarries.

They were joined by local resident Katherine Steele who lives nearby and has been through all of this before.


Photo courtesy of Philippa McCullough (l to r: Katherine Steele, Howard Ewing, Kate O’Kelly & Adrian Hearle)

Katherine said

“Words cannot express how disappointed I am at finding myself in this position again. They were refused within a previous soft sand study due to deliverability issues and then not found suitable within the more recent joint minerals plan. Now they are back. I know that I am not alone in holding the opinion that this is always a threat that hangs over us.

What is here is actually already a beautiful existing area. I can’t imagine standing on the top of “Sunset hill” looking down onto a working quarry for the next however many years. What will happen to the wild life? What will happen to we residents who will be exposed to the devastation and pollution? What will happen to the already creaking infrastructure of roads through the villages around Midhurst and beyond? An area of outstanding natural beauty, it would no longer be!”

Photo courtesy of Philippa McCullough

If you have views on the proposals or want to find out more, the detail with how to respond is here. Other related posts are here and here.