Protest march to fight sandpit proposals

PEOPLE are being urged to support a protest at County Hall, Chichester, on Friday this week, January 28, when MP Nick Herbert will present a petition to West Sussex County Council calling for plans for a new sand quarry at Horncroft, near Fittleworth, to be rejected.

The petition has been signed by hundreds from Fittleworth, Barlavington, Bignor, Sutton, Coldwaltham and Bury. Mr Herbert will be joined in the quadrangle outside County Hall at 9.30am by supporters of the Campaign against Horncroft.

The petition was launched at a public meeting on January 7, when more than 200 residents attended. Mr Herbert told them he hoped WSCC would understand the importance of preserving the special nature, beauty and tranquillity of the South Downs and its National Park. He said he felt the proposal for a major new quarry was inconsistent with this objective. He added that he very much hoped the South Downs National Park Authority, which is due to take over as planning authority in April, would be fully involved in the decision and that it would be ‘wholly wrong’ for WSCC to rush through a decision before April.

There is widespread concern that WSCC will seek to do just that and hear the application at its planning meeting on March 15, just two weeks before the SDNPA takes over as planning authority.

“We have decided to wait to hear whether or not WSCC proposes to deal with this application on March 15 before deciding what further steps to take,” said Scott Greenhalgh, co-chair of the campaign.

“Should WSCC allow this application to proceed, we shall consider asking for a public inquiry or a Judicial Review as the proposal is wholly incompatible with UK Government Policy on National Parks and we do not believe there is any need for additional sand given the low demand and the high level of reserves in West Sussex. We are focussed on raising the necessary fighting fund.”