Villagers fighting the threat of sand quarries have united in making an impassioned plea directly to Lord Cowdray to intervene and withdraw two Cowdray Estate owned sites in the Midhurst area.
The Severals East and Severals West sites are both proposed in new options for the South Downs National Park and West Sussex County Council joint minerals Local Plan (JMLP).
In a joint letter signed by chairman of Woolbeding with Redford Parish Council Dr Adrian Hearle and Howard Ewing, chairman of Bepton Parish Council, they have invited Lord Cowdray to a public meeting to discuss their concerns.
They reminded him of his firm stance against fracking near his home five years ago.
“At the time the Cowdray Estate issued a press release that stated: ‘Cowdray Estate has a number of concerns about Celtique Energie’s proposals for an exploration well at Nine Acre Copse, Fernhurst. These include traffic noise, light pollution and the impact on the area within the national park’.
“These are very similar to the concerns that residents have about quarrying in the Severals – never mind the more extensive harm to the landscape of quarrying and concerns over impact on the water table loss of habitat etc.”
Cowdray Estate chief executive Jonathan Russell’s attempts to justify the inclusion of the Severals sites in the JMLP had ‘inflamed people’s passions and ‘risks harming the reputation of the Cowdray Estate’, claimed the parish councillors in their letter.
“The threat of turning the Severals into two giant sand quarries is causing great consternation for residents living in the area in both our parishes as well as the neighbouring parishes of Midhurst and Stedham.
“It is fair to say passions are running very high with residents who have lived with the threat of sand quarrying here for some time,” the parish councils warned.
There was ‘great anger and puzzlement’ that the sites were being promoted again.