Steyning site allocated as soft sand quarry in draft plan

The Ham Farm site off the A283 has been allocated in a draft plan for soft sand extraction
The Ham Farm site off the A283 has been allocated in a draft plan for soft sand extraction

A controversial site just outside of Steyning has been allocated as a sand quarry in a new draft plan due to be discussed this week.

West Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park Association are working together on a strategy for soft sand extraction in the county.

A consultation on an issues and options document was held earlier this year, with a number of locations both within and outside the national park put forward as potential sites.

But now this list has now been whittled down to three sites, with only one being a new allocation and the other two being extensions to existing quarries.

The Ham Farm site, which would be the only new allocation, has been strongly opposed in the town due to road safety and landscape issues.

David Barling, county councillor for the area, said: “I’m not surprised but disappointed that this remains a potential site I shall continue to oppose its inclusion.

“I believe the site is unsuitable because of its poor access, which is dangerous despite its proximity to the lorry network on the A283 and I believe that the potential conditions suggested by the council’s planning officer whilst sensible are unachievable in practice.”

The draft soft sand review is due to be discussed by the SDNPA’s planning committee tomorrow (Thursday September 12).

If agreed it would be published for consultation before being submitted to a planning inspector for examination.

According to the review the Ham Farm site would provide 725,000 tonnes of soft sand, with material exported by road.

The after-use for this site would be a return to agricultural use and restoration would consider enhancing the existing woodland.

A joint minerals local plan (JMLP) was formally adopted by the county council and national park authority last year.

As part of the work on the plan Ham Farm was the only site allocated for soft stand extraction.

But as part of the process a planning inspector scrutinising the draft JMLP recommended the soft sand element of the strategy be removed and developed separately due to concerns about the approach taken.

The other two sites allocated in the draft plan are extensions to East of West Heath Common near Rogate and Chantry Lane near Storrington.

Once completed the soft sand review will be incorporated into the JMLP.