A call for new sites for soft sand extraction in West Sussex could be launched this summer.
A joint minerals local plan (JMLP) put together by West Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park Authority is set to be formally adopted in July.
The only site previously allocated for soft sand extraction was land at Ham Farm, north of the A283 near Steyning, but this sparked widespread opposition in the town due to road safety and landscape concerns.
During the JLMP’s preparation the soft sand strategy was removed and is now due to be developed separately after the planning inspector raised concerns about the approach taken.
The minerals plan was approved in December 2017 but is set for formal adoption in July.
Meanwhile the first stage of work of a soft sand strategy is also set to start in July with a call for sites, evidence gathering and technical studies running until December.
Then eight weeks of informal public and stakeholder consultation would run from January to March 2019, according to an indicative timetable published by the county council and subject to agreement with the national park.
WSCC’s minerals and waste development scheme for 2018-2021 explains: “During the examination hearings of the JMLP, the planning inspector raised concerns about the approach taken to soft sand supply.
“The inspector suggested modifications to delete references to planning for a declining amount of sand extraction from within the national park, to replace policy M2 with new wording and to remove the proposed Ham Farm allocation from policy M11.
“Accordingly, there is now a required in the JMLP (as modified) for the county council and SDNPA to commence a single issue soft sand review of the JMLP, within six months of adoption of the JMLP.
“The review will consider the demand and supply of soft sand required during the plan period, and how this demand will be met, including the potential need for site allocations.”
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