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.
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.
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. “
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.
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.
Image of St Mary’s, Bepton courtesy of Simon Verrall
Bepton Parish Council has drawn up its Winter Plan, as required by the County Council. Although it would be pleasant to see some snow, let’s hope we don’t have to use the plan.
A copy of the plan is here: BPC Winter Emergency Plan 17-18