Released: 26 March, 2021
West Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park Authority are pleased to announce the completion of the Soft Sand Review, with formal changes to the West Sussex Joint Minerals Local Plan being adopted by both authorities.
The Review undertaken by the authorities addressed the soft sand supply in West Sussex to 2033 – the key issues included the need for soft sand, the supply strategy, and the potential allocation of sites for soft sand extraction.
The fine, smooth characteristics of soft sand make it ideal for use as building sand in products that need to be easily workable by hand, for example, mortar and plaster. In West Sussex, soft sand deposits run from east to west and there are a small number of active extraction sites in the west and central parts of the county. The variable grain size and low clay content mean that little or no processing is required to produce high quality building sands for mortar.
The Review identified the need for three sites for soft sand extraction. The first, Ham Farm, is outside the South Downs National Park. The other allocations are extensions to existing sites within the South Downs National Park, at Chantry Lane Sandpit and West Heath Common Quarry.
The authorities’ proposed changes to the Plan, including the allocation of the three sites, were examined by a Government-appointed Planning Inspector. Following consideration of the evidence and representations by third parties, the Inspector recommended that the authorities’ proposed changes should be made with some further minor amendments.
Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “As a mineral planning authority, West Sussex County Council is required to plan for a steady and adequate supply of minerals, including soft sand.”
“I am really pleased to announce that the Soft Sand Review has now been completed and that the changes proposed by the County Council and the National Park Authority were supported in principle by the Inspector. The changes endorsed by him have now been made to the Joint Minerals Local Plan for West Sussex, which is part of the statutory ‘development plan’ and used for decision-making on development proposals.”
Tim Slaney, Director of Planning at the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “I’m very pleased that after several rounds of consultation and thorough examination this plan has been adopted.
“The new policies consider the availability of soft sand outside the National Park in the first instance and provide a robust framework to ensure the best outcomes for our protected landscape.”
The revised Plan, incorporating the changes identified through the Review, the Adoption Statement, and the Sustainability Appraisal are available for viewing online