Upper Beeding Parish Council
Draft Policy for the Cement Works[Back to list]
Beeding / Shoreham Cement Works is a disused and semi derelict cement works situated on the A283 on the southern edge of Upper Beeding Parish, within the SDNP and the Sussex Downs. The chalk quarry is on a number of levels, the highest vertical faces of which rise to over 50 metres. The site also includes various kilns, conveyors, silos and other buildings that were used in the cement manufacturing process. The overall site area is around 48 hectares, around 45 hectares of which lie within Upper Beeding Parish and the remainder in Adur District. The cement works has been on the current site for a century and a license to extract remains for another 40 years, a chalk pit existed there since 1725 and probably long before that.
It is currently in the ownership of a developer but leased to a waste operator and to various temporary users (west of the A283). This is one of the most prominent sites in the South Downs National Park, in a key location where the Park is at its narrowest. A previous proposal for mixed-use development was rejected on appeal mainly because of the proposed housing content on the western part of the site.
The Cement Works is of great public interest and is part of the history of Upper Beeding when it was the major employer and source of income in the area. In a recent survey within the Parish 76% identified that the Cement Works was a major issue and needed something to be done to it.
The Upper Beeding Neighbourhood Plan wishes to identify opportunities for develop- ment and employment at the site as part of a regeneration and restoration package for the Cement Works. Any proposal for develop- ment must deliver the principal objective of securing the satisfactory restoration of the site with major environmental and landscape improvements compatible with the site’s sensitive location in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within SDNP. It is recognised that to deliver the objective will require major development, be acceptable to SDNP, be fundable, be supported by Horsham DC, Adur DC, Coast to Capital, offer housing, business and leisure facilities that will encourage investment and bring opportuni- ties not only to the immediate area but the surrounding towns and villages of Worthing, Hove, Shoreham, Henfield, Steyning, Washington, Small Dole and beyond.
There are opportunities for development and such sites have been transformed from industrial to recreational and business use very effectively while retaining the industrial features of interest and value. Facilities could be provided to offer small businesses an opportunity to start up and if properly landscaped and managed would better fit the SDNP vision of Agricultural and Landscaped beauty. The local Downslink footpath cur- rently utilises the original formation of the former Shoreham – Horsham Railway, this passes the cement works along its west side, an example of improving the site to compli- ment leisure walkers and provide facilities could be to restore / renovate the old weigh- bridge office buildings – into a cafe / tea- rooms and other suitable businesses could be placed in this area. Even the old railway signal box whose footings still survive could be reinstated to provide a rest facility & all weather viewing room for the Adur Valley.
A community museum could be created & funded from sponsorship to promote the re-generation of the site and allow access for schools and local societies to re-search and promote their local history and ongoing local environmental / wildlife conservation. It is recognised that the original cement works buildings carry a following of modern photo artists and industrial archaeology groups amongst many who visit the site and admire the impressive size of the structures. As these are being retained, they will provide a key dramatic back drop to a very modern yet imposing and sustainable site. Careful design of the new buildings and landscaping measures must be undertaken to ensure that the overall environment of the area will be enhanced. Furthermore, the redevelopment of this extensive site has the potential to increase traffic in the local area and will require transport, including sustainable transport, and other infrastructure improvements. This is likely to include improvements to the A283 between Washington and Shoreham.
The Community wants a sustainable development, of zero-carbon design and Zero (fossil) Energy buildings and one that will turn all the previous issues of the site into solutions that are FUNDABLE!! They would like the design to represent new lifestyles, be carbon neutral and built in a way that can keep the character, style and look of the place whist allowing the settle- ment to be part of the landscape.
Any development proposal must:
- be sustainable
- ensure that opportunities are maximised to enhance the landscape and biodiversity of the area whilst protecting the existing wildlife habitats.
- be a comprehensive scheme for the whole site.
- include development that is necessary to secure the satisfactory restoration of the site.
- contribute to the regeneration of the coastal area.
- comprise of high quality development for employment, leisure and tourism uses, including recreational accommodation, restaurants, theatres , arts, ecological and educational facilities.
- ensure that new homes include sheltered, affordable, market and higher rate market housing and retail outlets directly related to the main use.
- consider the inclusion of facilities for the production of power, water, sewage and waste facilities for the immediate site and surrounding area through renewable energy and ecosystems.
- ensure the design is truly outstanding or innovative, help to raise standards of design generally for rural areas; reflect the highest standards in architecture; enhance its immediate setting; and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
- provide the necessary transport and infrastructure improvements, including the provision of sustainable transport opportunities from the outset.
- represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset and re-use redundant or disused buildings and lead to an enhance- ment to the immediate setting and add to the innovative nature of the design of any new dwellings.
- provide simple housing to assist those employees working in start-up business opportunities to be accommodated on site
- have the support and backing of the local community
- be justifiable in terms of its functional contribution being positive to multifunctional landscape management
- provide the community access to open spaces, social, cultural and educational benefits, well-being and inspiration from interaction with nature supported by a strong healthy economy.
Ideas for Beeding Cement Works from Community Engagement:
- Restore facade of main building and Labs opposite as example of 1950s architecture
- Build South Downs Visitor Centre with parks, camp site, shops, cafe, Youth hostel, stables, and cycle centre.
- Sports Centre to include: Gym, Ice Skat- ing, Ski Slope, Swimming Pool, Rock Climb- ing, Water Sports, Zip Wire, Mountain Boarding, Skate Boarding, Fun Games.
- Music Centre / Studios & Practice venue
- Housing, Sheltered, Social, Affordable, market and high Spec
- Working Zones for businesses to accom- modate existing but in greener environment.
- Business Zone for start-ups, little pods for new businesses to network and build
- Bus Museum and Artefacts Cement Works Museum & Heritage Centre • Wild Life Centre and Sanctuary for birds, fish & plants. Utilising the river.
- Education & Innovative Centre for Arts, Science & Technology. – build the skills required for the local area, to include resi- dential and study facilities for students of all ages – Top Primary to University – with day and longer courses appropriate to. Appren- ticeships based on what business may even- tually be on site, Foster cross-disciplinary collaborations to lead on new ideas and build them into new industries etc.
- House a number of businesses specialis- ing in green energy, companies for research and manufacture
- Tree Top restaurant built in keeping with the country side sourcing its food from local companies but affordable to all
- Self-sufficient power infrastructure and sewage works to serve immediate and local communities
- Art Gallery bringing local artists in to sell their painting and their artefacts
- Riverside Hotel & Leisure facilities with jetty.
- Promote businesses offering Skilled and Semi Skilled Employment Opportunities for the Local Community
- Pump Reservoirs.
- Exhibition & Conference Centre.
- Bus Station.
- Bike City.
- Vineyards & Winery.
- Re-Use of current buildings.
- Local Tourist attraction.
- Making use of local materials/resources.
- Hospitality & Recreational Accommodation Facilities with a ‘Natural’ look.