Sandpit storm gathers pace in Midhurst and surrounding villages

C140877-2 Mid Sandpits  phot kate''Demonstration against the sandpit proposal.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140877-2 SUS-140917-093745001
C140877-2 Mid Sandpits phot kate''Demonstration against the sandpit proposal.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140877-2 SUS-140917-093745001

POLLUTION and the visual scar on the landscape from sand quarries would be worse than drilling for shale oil and gas, claimed a leading town councillor.

Now Midhurst Town Council has made a formal objection to the proposals and is to join forces with parishes forming a co-ordinated action group.

Vice-chairman John Quilter urged fellow councillors to object to proposals for sand quarries at Severals East and West in the parish of Woolbeding with Redford as well as another at Hawkhurst Farm in West Lavington and at Minsted West in Stedham.

They are all included in a new list of proposed sand quarry sites drawn up by West Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park which are jointly working on a new minerals local plan.

“The arguments against are similar to those used against oil and gas drilling in Fernhurst in that there is inappropriate access and there would be significant additional heavy traffic.

“There would also be considerably more noise and dust pollution. This would be far, far worse in terms of pollution and visual pollution. It would create a huge scar on the landscape despoiling the environment of the national park.”

Chairman of the council John Etherington said The Severals proposals were close to Midhurst Common where conservation work was taking place.

Residents from Midhurst, West Lavington, Heyshott, Cocking, Bepton and Stedham have written to Lord Cowdray, asking him to reconsider giving permission for his land to be used for sand extraction:

“Following on from your recent statement that you are against ‘fracking’ near your Fernhurst home, we are somewhat bemused that, at the same time, you have allowed land which you own to be put forward for the future extraction of sand within this area which is the heart of the South Downs National Park.

“The creation of the South Downs National Park was to ensure our beautiful, delicate and unspoilt environment would be preserved as an enjoyable amenity.

“Given your stand against ‘fracking’, as a potential environmental hazard, we find it difficult to understand that you appear to condone the creation of vast holes in our community which will amount to an area equivalent to over 140 football pitches.”

The deadline for public consultation is September 22. See 
www.westsussex.gov.uk/mwdf