Quarrying would be ‘a gross violation’ of national park

Dog walker at the Severals, near Midhurst.
Dog walker at the Severals, near Midhurst.

Quarries proposed in the Midhurst area threaten wildlife and a recreational area of 150 years, campaigners have said.

Soft sand extraction is being proposed at Cowdray and Minsted as part of the joint minerals plan for the county and the South Downs National Park, with consultation due to close on March 18.

According to the Midhurst Landscape Project, the Severals, where two of the quarries could be sited, had been described as a favourite area for walking since at least 1868.

It comes as the Midhurst Society issued its formal response to the minerals plan, condemning a ‘gross violation’ of the government’s plan for the management of National Parks.

Writing on behalf of the society, Harvey Tordoff said: “The extraction processes and the thousands of associated lorry journeys would result in intolerable levels of noise, dust and pollution.

“The existing condition of roads within the SDNP is poor, with authorities unable to keep pace with the regular appearance of deep pot-holes.

“Part of the cause is the transport of quarry waste and infill, in heavy lorries, on roads not designed for that purpose.”

Observer readers have also lamented the possible loss of heathland and woodland areas at the Severals.

Writing to the Observer, Martine Collings said she had been a resident of Midhurst for many years and knew the area well.

She wrote: “As a professional illustrator of flora and fauna, birds and other wildlife I have roamed the Severals heathland and woods for generations, absorbing the peace and studying my subjects.

“Like many other residents and those whose homes lie close to the proposed quarrying sites I am aghast at Cowdray Estate’s plans for the destruction of our much loved environment and our enjoyment of the salubrious recreational facilities it provides.”