Share your comments on the county’s ‘Soft Sand Review’

West Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park Authority are inviting feedback on proposed modifications to the Soft Sand Review


Release date: 9 November 2020

West Sussex County Council and the South Downs National Park Authority are inviting feedback on proposed modifications to the Soft Sand Review, a document that sets out how the authorities have addressed the issue of soft sand supply – the need for soft sand, the supply strategy and the extraction sites.

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 Soft Sand Review was submitted to Government in April 2020 and is being examined by an independent Planning Inspector, who has indicated that the submitted changes need to be modified to make them ‘sound’ and suitable for adoption. These changes have been approved by the South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Councillors. Stakeholders and members of the public are now being asked for their views on these modifications.

The consultation will last from 9 November 2020 to 8 January 2021. Once the consultation has concluded, the Inspector will consider any representations received alongside the proposed modifications, reconvene hearing sessions (if necessary), and issue a final report on the Soft Sand Review, after which it will be formally adopted by the authorities, as changes to the Joint Minerals Local Plan.

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.

“Following examination hearing sessions earlier this year, the Planning Inspector has suggested a number of relatively minor modifications to the Soft Sand Review, that we have prepared. This is a normal part of the process. 

“These modifications must now be subject to a further period of representations before the proposed changes to the Joint Minerals Local Plan can be formally adopted.”

The Soft Sand Review proposes three allocations for soft sand. The first, Ham Farm, is outside of the South Downs National Park. The other two proposed allocations are extensions to sites with existing planning permission within the South Downs National Park.

Tim Slaney, Director of Planning at the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “We’re entering the final stages of this important planning process and would like to thank everyone for their feedback so far.

“The site allocations are set in a policy framework that looks for soft sand resources outside of the National Park in the first instance and seeks to avoid, minimise and mitigate any

For further information contact:

Planning Services, West Sussex County Council, County Hall, Chichester, PO19 1RH; call 01243 642118 or email

This consultation has now closed.

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