Last Friday I attended a packed meeting at Fittleworth village hall to discuss the proposed sand quarry at Horncroft Common.

Over 200 people heard that a revised planning application has been submitted to extract 1.5 million tonnes of sand from the 54 acre site near Fittleworth over the next two decades.

I objected to the original application last year and I am disappointed to see that it has been renewed.  The proposal has attracted opposition from environmental groups and local people alike.

On Friday concerned residents from Fittleworth, Bignor, Sutton, Coldwaltham and Bury spoke out passionately against the plans.

County Councillor Mike Brown and local campaigners set out the detailed case against the proposed site extremely well.  So I added just three key points.

First, while I wouldn't have designated the South Downs as a National Park, I think most people agree that we must now work to make it a success.

And the whole point of the designation was to ensure the highest form of protection for this unique landscape.  So it would be totally perverse if a damaging development was one of the first things allowed in the Park - especially when it's been rejected twice before.

Second, from April onwards it will be the new South Downs National Park Authority which takes planning decisions like this.

So I question why a new application has been submitted to West Sussex County Council just months before the changeover.  I think it would be wrong for a decision to be rushed through now.

Third, I remain passionate about protecting the South Downs and surrounding West Sussex countryside from inappropriate development. 

It cannot be right to allow anything up to 100 vehicle movements a day, most of them heavy lorries, in this rural part of West Sussex. 

We must preserve the special nature, beauty and tranquillity of the South Downs.

The deadline for sending objections to the quarry to the County Council is Friday 21 January.

And a petition will be presented at County Hall in Chichester on Friday 28 January when local MPs meet County Council leaders.

I hope that the concerns of West Sussex communities will be heard.

Christopher N Howarth