Local people back campaign to halt sandpit
Local residents and schoolchildren turned out in force on Friday (21 May) to support a campaign to stop the proposal to open a sand quarry in the heart of the South Downs National Park.
They were joined at the site by Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert who was met by representatives of five parish councils who are united in their opposition to the plans.
Also present at the demonstration were County Councillor Chris Duncton (Petworth Division) and Chichester District Councillor John Elliott (Bury Ward).
The Barlavington Estate has submitted a planning application to extract 1.5 million tonnes of sand from the 54 acre site at Horncroft Common near Fittleworth over the next 20 years.
Mr Herbert has already formally objected to the proposal in a letter to West Sussex County Council. The proposal has also attracted opposition from the South Downs Joint Committee, the Woodland Trust, the Campaign for National Parks and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Nick Herbert commented: "I asked if I could meet the parish council chairmen and some of the local people concerned about this issue. But word got around in just four days and hundreds of people turned out to show their support. This just shows the depth of concern about what I think would be a very damaging proposal.
"There would be up to 100 vehicle movements a day from this site, most of them heavy lorries, and I think it would spoil this beautiful, tranquil natural environment. It's totally inappropriate in a National Park which should be receiving the highest level of protection. I understand that this site has been rejected twice before and I very much hope that West Sussex County Council will turn it down again."
Although the deadline for formal objections on the planning application has now passed, Mr Herbert called on local people to register their views with local councillors. He also encouraged people to write to him at the House of Commons so that he can forward their concerns to the County Council.
Notes for Editors
1. For more information about the proposal, visit http://www.proposedhorncroftsandpit.co.uk/. The planning application can be viewed at: http://eplanning.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/loadFullDetails.do?aplId=1183. The consultation ended on 14 May 2010.
2. The parish councils of Bury, Fittleworth, Bignor, Sutton & Barlavington and Coldwaltham are all objecting to the proposal.