THE owner of Shoreham Cement Works has said it does not want the site to become a ‘butterfly santuary’.
Hargreaves Group wants the ‘blight on the landscape’ developed, but only if it is commercially viable and includes housing.
The future of the derelict site, on the A283 north of Shoreham, has flared up again as Upper Beeding Parish Council prepares its Neighbourhood Plan.
The council would like to consider ambitious plans, similar to The Eden Project in Cornwall, which was made on a similar site.
But the South Downs National Park has indicated it sees the future of the site as a visitor centre for the national park.
Hargreaves development surveyor James Belbin said no agreement had been reached as the parties involved had different views on the site’s future.
“They want nice green fields and we don’t want a development unless it’s commercially feasible for us and that there’s some housing developments.
“The site currently has a B2 general industrial use, which allows businesses to use the site within designated hours. We have tenants on the west of the site and we get a good return.
“We could sit on it for the next 20 years and not develop, but we want to work with the parish council and everyone to develop a worthwhile site.”
Parish councillor Sean Teatum said the council wanted to maintain the local businesses that hired local people and develop a community centre.
“We don’t want to have a big housing development there,” he added.
Mr Belbin said: “It’s a bit of a blight on the landscape and we want to develop it but we are looking at tens of millions of pounds.
“We’re willing to put in nice walkways and grass land, but we don’t want a butterfly sanctuary.”