MP asks for extension to Minerals Plan consultation

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has today written to West Sussex County Council to ask them to extend the consultation period on the latest stage of the draft Joint Minerals Plan (9 May).

Mr Herbert has asked County Councillor John O’Brien, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to extend the consultation period beyond 17 June to give the local community time to prepare an informed response to proposals.

Residents in Steyning have raised concerns about the inclusion of Ham Farm in the draft Plan for the quarrying of soft sand.  Ham Farm and West Hoathly brickworks are the only two sites that now remain in the Plan, after consideration of almost 50 sites at the start of the process.

The MP advises in his letter that a number of residents in Steyning have written to him with concerns that they do not have enough time to be able to consider the detail for the inclusion of Ham Farm.  The draft Plan runs to 143 pages, and there are futher supporting documents that give a deeper level of detail to explain the site selections.

Mr Herbert says that he supports the call for a reasonable extension to the consultation period to allow the community proper time to prepare their response and maintain public confidence in the consultation process. 

West Sussex County Council responded immediately to Mr Herbert to advise that although they cannot formally extend the period of the consultation for this stage of the process, they would still consider responses beyond the 17 June deadline.

Darryl Hemmings, Planning and Transport Policy Manager at West Sussex County Council wrote: “We do not intend to formally extend the consultation period.  However, if any stakeholders wish to submit their response after the consultation deadline, for example, to fit in with a pre-organised formal meeting such as parish council, then they are urged to approach us and agree deadlines on a case by case basis.” 

Residents in Steyning are saying that the site is the wrong location because it is too close to the village.  In their letters to the MP they have raised concerns about lorry movements for the period of quarrying, to 2033, and beyond when landfilling will be necessary to restore the site. 

The location of Ham Farm is on the edge of the South Downs National Park.  The draft Joint Minerals Plan has been produced by the South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council.  When the current consultation period ends the council’s Planning Officers will consider the representations and make a recommendation to the Cabinet Member of Highways and Transport.  Further debate, and an examination in public by an independent planning inspector will follow.

Planning Officers will be making a presentation to the Chanctonbury Local Committee on 18 May in Ashington Parish Hall.  A drop in exhibition will be held in the Steyning Centre on Monday 23 May, 3pm – 8pm.  Both events will provide residents with the opportunity to discuss their concerns with officers.

 

ENDS

 

Notes

   1.     Nick Herbert’s letter to John O’Brien in full:

Dear John

I am writing to ask for an extension to the consultation period on the draft Minerals Local Plan to give the local community time to prepare an informed response.

A number of residents in Steyning have written to me with concerns that they do not have enough time, with the current consultation deadline of 17 June, to be able to consider the detail for the inclusion of Ham Farm within the 143-page draft Plan and supporting documents.  I support their call for a reasonable extension to the consultation period.  I hope that their request will be granted in order to allow the community proper time to prepare their responses and maintain public confidence in the consultation process.

Yours sincerely

NICK HERBERT

   2.     To read the draft Joint Minerals Local Plan see https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-plans-and-policies/environment-planning-and-waste-plans-and-policies/minerals-and-waste-policy/new-minerals-local-plan/consultation-and-engagement/.