No joy for Steyning over Minerals Plan site at Ham Farm

by derekdeedman on 11 November, 2016

Despite a massive petition against the inclusion of a quarry site on the outskirts of Steyning in the proposed West Sussex Minerals Plan, the officers are still recommending the inclusion of the site in a report to the West Sussex  Environmental & Community Services Select Committee meeting on 16 November.

Although they have slightly reduced the area involved the site is still expected to produce some 725,000mt (compared with the original proposal of 850,000mt).  Development principles have been established that identify specific issues that will need to be addressed at the planning application stage, as and when proposals come forward.

In response to the existence of the restrictive covenant at the Ham Farm site the proposer has sought to provide assurances that the site is ‘deliverable’. In doing so, the proposer has suggested that the site allocation be reduced in size although it would still include land covered by the covenant. However, given the uncertainty that would remain about site deliverability (due to the inclusion of part of the site within the covenanted land), it is proposed to amend the proposed site allocation to exclude the area where the covenant could be enforced. The potential output from the site would be reduced from 850,000mt to 725,000mt which it is claimed would still make a valuable contribution to the supply of soft sand in the County. The officers consider that the development principles have been strengthened to ensure the site would not cause unacceptable impacts.

The Proposed Joint (with the South Downs National Park Authority) Minerals Plan will be considered by the full Council in December. With the large Conservative majority on the Council, no doubt the Conservative County Councillor for Bramber Castle (covering Steyning), David Barling, (despite being a cabinet member) will be allowed to speak and even vote against the inclusion of Ham Farm in the Plan, as this would not prevent the Plan being approved in full. The opposition to the inclusion of the Ham Farm site should have been made clear by Steyning Parish Council and David Barling when the draft Plan was consulted on two years ago, but it appears they took no action and so have let down local people.

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