The owner of the derelict cement works near Upper Beeding has told the County Times they will continue to work with the South Downs National Park to find an ‘acceptable form of redevelopment’.
Richard Andrew, director of Hargreaves Group of Companies, which owns Shoreham Cement Works, that falls under the authority of Upper Beeding Parish Council, said it has entered into discussions with numerous local bodies to help decide its future.
“In early 2013, The Hargreaves Group entered into discussions with key stakeholders, including the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) Horsham District Council, Worthing & Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council.” said Mr Andrew.
“The intent of this engagement was and remains to establish and progress a collaborative working approach towards finding an acceptable form of redevelopment for the site and it has thus far included meetings and a stakeholder workshop session, with a site visit, which took place in October 2013.”
Back in 2002, Hargreaves submitted an application known as Adur Valley Park, which proposed a mix of employment, leisure and residential uses, coupled with works of restoration to the more visible elements of the site.
However, the application was refused at appeal.
Mr Andrew said: “In making his determination, the independent Planning Inspector was generally supportive of the scheme and its proposed restoration measures.
“His concern was only in respect of the quantum of residential use, which, at that time, he felt was excessive.”
The site, which sits astride the A283, totals over 118 acres and comprises of buildings totalling over 500,000 square feet.
“Discussions have since continued, including with the SDNPA and Coast to Capital (the Local Enterprise Partnership) at which, The Hargreaves Group has reiterated its wish to work collaboratively, including through the emerging South Downs Local Plan, so as to pave the way for, and ultimately secure, a future for the site.
“Proposal to redevelop the site must be viable. This means that the redevelopment needs to secure the early release of sufficient value to compensate for the loss of income presently being derived from the site plus the very substantial enabling costs.”
Until that objective is achieved, Mr Andrew said it will continue to operate.
Upper Beeding Parish Council is currently considering the site in its Neighbourhood Plan.