Parish Councils write to Lord Cowdray about Sand Quarries

Say no to Midhurst The Severals Bepton Sand Pits Excavation


Woolbeding with Redford Parish Council and Bepton Parish Council have written jointly to Lord Cowdray about the proposed inclusion of the sites at Severals East and West in the Soft Sand Review.  The Review is being carried out by West Sussex County Council (WSCC)
and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).

The sites are owned by the Cowdray Estate and within Woolbeding with Redford Parish. However, their proximity to Bepton makes them of particular interest to residents of Bepton. Both Parish Councils are opposed to the development of the sites as sand quarries and will be making their representations as part of the consultation exercise (which closes on 18th March). Both Parishes have had well-attended public meetings which were unanimously opposed to the prospect of sand quarries at the Severals.

The letter, signed by both Adrian Hearle, Chair of Woolbeding with Redford PC, and Howard Ewing, Chair of Bepton PC, says,

” As you can imagine, the threat of turning the Severals into two giant sand quarries is causing great consternation for residents living in the area in both of our Parishes, as well as the neighbouring parishes of Midhurst and Stedham. It is fair to say that passions are running very high with local residents who have lived with the threat of sand quarrying here for some time. Because the sites have been rejected in, at least, the last two plans, people had thought the matter was closed. There is great anger and puzzlement that the sites are now being promoted again by the local estate. Both of our Parishes have had lively well-attended public meetings at which local residents expressed their unanimous opposition to the proposals.

This area is much loved by locals as an amenity with its many footpaths, wildlife and natural habitat. It connects with Midhurst Common and people come from neighbouring areas to walk in a pleasant countryside atmosphere. This will be destroyed by sand extraction. There are a number of houses in Bepton which will be directly affected. But the most serious impact will be on Severals House which would be completely surrounded by the quarries.”

A copy of the letter is here: Cowdray letter 1 Feb 2019.

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.

Proposed Sand Quarries in Severals

Say no to proposed Bepton Sand Pits

Last week’s Bepton Parish Council meeting was standing room only as people gathered to express their concern about the proposals for sand extraction at Severals East and West. The attendees were unanimous in their opposition and agreed that they would fight them.

As a statutory consultee, Bepton Parish Council will be making a formal response and the Council will be working on that to make sure it is submitted before the deadline of 18th March 2019. Residents were encouraged to read the various documents which could be found here and respond. The Parish Council has circulated the material from the response to the last consultation when the same sites were proposed and rejected.

The proposed sites at the Severals are actually in the Parish of Woolbeding with Redford. So, yesterday evening Bepton Parish Councillors, local Bepton residents and representatives of the Midhurst Society and the Friends of Midhurst Common attended the Woolbeding with Redford Parish Council meeting. Like the Bepton PC meeting, it was well attended and the focus was on how best to object to the proposals.

Amongst other things, it was agreed to set up a small group to share information and work on responses.  Woolbeding with Redford would talk to Stedham and to those already involved in looking at the proposed Minsted site, to see what could be learned. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure that well considered responses are submitted by 18th March 2019.

Finally, people have been discussing what else that they could do. Suggestions have included a writing campaign. Recipients included our local MP, Gillian Keegan, local Councillors, Kate O’Kelly (WSCC) & Caroline Neville (CDC), the National Park, and Cowdray. Residents are very keen to ensure that people know how strongly they feel about the proposals.

Severals Sand Quarry Sites Back on the Agenda

Say no to Midhurst The Severals Bepton Sand Pits Excavation

After the Severals sand extraction sites were removed from the WSCC/SDNPA Minerals Plan, we were hoping that was the end of them. However, the Planning Inspector found that WSCC/SDNPA had not made enough provision for soft sand.

So WSCC/SDNPA were ordered to do a Soft Sand Review. They have now published their Issues and Options Consultation . In that document, both Severals East and Severals West have been identified as potential soft sand extraction sites. The consultation runs until 18th March 2019.

The Parish Council met informally and confirmed their continued objection to these proposals. The Chairman was interviewed by the Midhurst & Petworth Observer.

He said, “Bepton Parish Council were very disappointed to learn that the Severals East & West sites, which had been previously ruled out, were now back on the agenda. Our objections to them remain. They are unsuitable for a number of reasons and would have a serious detrimental impact on the environment, the natural habitat & the lives of people in Bepton, particularly along Severals Road. The South Downs National Park Authority has a statutory duty “to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area”. Sand extraction in the Severals would fly in the face of that. “

Sand Quarry

The Parish Council will be discussing their response at their meeting on 24th January (7pm at the Park House), which is, of course, open to the public.

In the meantime, the Council would encourage all local residents with views on the proposals to respond to the consultation exercise.

Bepton’s Winter Maintenance Plan 2018-19


Photo: courtesy of Simon Verrall ©

The Parish Council has drawn up a new Winter Maintenance Plan to be ready for any severe winter weather over the next few months. It is an update of last year’s plan.

A copy of the plan can be found here: Bepton Winter Emergency Plan 18-19 and the map of the roads is here: Bepton Parish Winter Plan Roads.

If you have any thoughts or suggested improvements for the plan, please don’t hesitate to let one of the Parish Councillors know.



We’ve got our verge back!

IMG_0539At last, it’s gone. On Monday morning, someone came and took the abandoned vehicle away.

Following my last post, Sussex Police told me that the owner had claimed the vehicle and that they had now closed the case. They did tell me, however, that WSCC had wider powers, under their environmental responsibilities, to remove the vehicle. By this time most of its windows had been smashed. I therefore contacted Cllr Kate O’Kelly, on Friday, who undertook to pursue it. By Monday morning the car was gone.

When I thanked Kate, she wouldn’t take any of the credit as she doubted that even WSCC could have swung into action this quickly. But thanks are due all the same.

Abandoned vehicle at Bugshill Lane/Bell Lane T-Junction

Bepton villagers will have noticed the abandoned car near the T-Junction, which has been there since September.

We first reported the car to Operation Crackdown (Sussex Police’s website for anti-social driving and abandoned vehicles). They came back to us to say that the vehicle was not abandoned as it was taxed, insured and had a valid MOT. A quick check with the DVLA website showed that, although it had an MOT, it was registered as being off-road under SORN. And British insurance records confirmed that it was not insured. We went back to Sussex Police explaining this at the beginning of October. They said that they would investigate.

On Monday morning the car was hit by another vehicle. To add to its flat tyres, the side was badly damaged and the passenger window smashed with glass fragments spread down the lane. We have reported this again to the police. Their latest position is that WSCC are now discussing with Sussex Police “to see whether the vehicle can be removed”. We have pointed out that this isn’t very satisfactory and that the vehicle is a hazard.

We have been told by another parish that they had a similar situation with an abandoned car for a few months. Apparently, the police had been attempting to contact the owner to get them to pay for its removal. We shall continue to pursue!


SDNPA’s Dan Oakley to talk about Dark Skies

The Annual Statutory Meeting (ASM) and the Annual Parish Assembly (APA) of the Parish Council will take place on 25th May 2017 at The Park House Hotel, Bepton.  


The ASM will start at 6pm and the APA at 7.30pm. Dan Oakley of the SDNPA will be the guest speaker at the APA and will talk about the National Park’s Dark Skies designation. Please do come along.

The agendas for the meetings are here:BPC APA Agenda 2017BPC ASM Agenda 2017 and the draft minutes for the March 2017 meeting are here.