Two potential sites in Duncton have been identified – Coopers Moor and Duncton Common and the Parish Council sent the following comments to WSCC:
Further to our Parish Council meeting on 4th March where the Soft Sand Review was discussed, Duncton Parish Council (DPC) would like to submit the following comments in response to the Soft Sand Review Consultation.
The comments below are in response to question 5 on the Response Form and are concerning the Coopers Moor and Duncton Common sites.
- The noise, light and air pollution generated by the existing sand pit at Heath End is ongoing and an extension of the current site into these new locations will make the closure, and importantly, the promised regeneration, of the Heath End site less likely.
- The cumulative social and economic impact of this long-term development on the surrounding area is unjustifiable considering the area has already suffered from mineral extraction at Heath End for a number of decades.
- The sand pit is a blot on the landscape in an area of outstanding beauty which is visible from higher ground in the National Park, not least from the viewpoint on Duncton Hill, which the SDNP considers of strategic importance. There would therefore be an unacceptable impact on landscape character.
- The level of heavy goods traffic would increase and the dangerous turning from the Graffham Road onto the A285 is not suitable to accommodate large numbers of lorries.
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) have been identified by SDNP rangers in Duncton Common, including rare grasses.
- The proposed extraction sites are adjacent to a National Trust conservation area (Lavington Common and Plantation) where extremely rare fauna and flora, including reptiles and birds recognised by the RSPB as endangered species are known to be found.
- The Serpent Trail, which is a nationally recognised route featured in guide books and popular with walkers, runs through the middle of Duncton Common. It is regularly used for training purposes for the Duke of Edinburgh awards.
- The footpaths and key bridle ways running through the common are key links between the surrounding villages into the Petworth area.
- The local school uses both proposed sites for the formation of forest school leaders and forest school activities with its pupils.
- The development of the site has the potential to affect the amenity and recreational value of the adjacent areas.
- A reduction in the number of visitors to the area would have a severe adverse economic impact on such local businesses as The Cricketers and The Badgers pubs, the Graffham and Redlands campsites and the Heath End Farm shop.
Having lived with the existing sand quarry for many years, Duncton residents are very aware of the impact further developments would have.
It is clear, moreover, that the extension of the current sand extraction site at Heath End into Coopers Moor and Duncton Common would have severe negative externalities on the lives of our parishioners, the environment, and the local economyAs such, we suggest that the criteria set out by the West Sussex Joint Minerals Local Plan’s Soft Sand Sites Selection Report from January 2019 would require both sites in our Parish to be excluded from consideration for minerals extraction.