Protests grow over Cowdray sand quarries proposals

ks190078-3 Mid Gibson Quarry  phot kate'Alex and Loppy Gibson with their daughter Eliza,11. They are concerned that one  of the proposed quarry sites is just beyond their garden gate.ks190078-3 SUS-190218-211743008
ks190078-3 Mid Gibson Quarry phot kate'Alex and Loppy Gibson with their daughter Eliza,11. They are concerned that one of the proposed quarry sites is just beyond their garden gate.ks190078-3 SUS-190218-211743008

Opposition is growing in the Midhurst area to possible sand quarries at the Severals East and Severals West sites.

The Cowdray Estate owned sites are both proposed in new options for the South Downs National Park and West Sussex County Council joint minerals Local Plan.

Parish councillors at Woolbeding and Redford and Bepton have already made strong protests.

Now residents have formed their own pressure group to add to the protest.

Among them are Loppy Gibson and her husband Alex, who would be the worst affected, with one of the sites just beyond their garden gate.

Loppy said: “We moved in to Severals House in September having no idea these sand quarries were a potential threat. Our house would be right in the middle if both were approved which would cause so much disruption and stress to our lives. We are shocked Lord Cowdray would even consider allowing even one quarry, let alone two, in the South Downs National Park, an area of outstanding beauty, when he was opposed to the fracking issue in Fernhurst a while ago.

“It is so hypocritical, when the very issues Cowdray were concerned about – noise, traffic, light pollution – are the exact worries we, as residents, now have over these quarries.”

She said her home would be the worst affected but the quarries would affect other residents in the area: “There would also be a huge impact on all other local residents, the environment, all the wildlife – some of which are endangered species – who live in the woods and there would be a huge increase in traffic and pollution. Severals Road would not be able to cope with increased traffic and large lorries.”

On Monday evening residents asked Midhurst town councillors to back them.

Speaking on their behalf, Marion McQuaid said: “These sites were considered before but this is the first time the Cowdray Estate has actively promoted the site. We need to work together to get it rejected.”

Sand quarry objectors are to meet MP Gillian Keegan

Midhurst MP Gillian Keegan is to meet campaigners against the proposed sand quarries at Severals East and Severals West, tomorrow (Friday).

Among those who will be present in the growing number of protesters are representatives from Bepton, Rogate, Trotton, Woolbeding and Midhurst.

At a full meeting of Midhurst Town Council on Monday evening residents heard members add their support to the campaign.

Marion MacQuaid, representing the 67 residents of Heathfield Park as well as the newly formed residents’ pressure group, said they were challenging the proposals, not only on the basis that the calculation for sand requirements was wrong, but also on many other issues including traffic, access, impact on landscape, air quality and loss of amenity.

Fellow campaigner Philippa McCullough said the new residents’ group included experts on the environment, geologists and wildlife ecologists.

She urged town councillors to work with the group and use their expertise in making their objection.

“Ideally what we are looking for from the town council is a very robust objection to the sand quarries proposals,” she said.

She urged councillors to write to Lord Cowdray asking him to withdraw the sites from the consultation process.