Right now, there is a unique opportunity for the local communities, the stakeholders, and anyone else who cares about what happens in the Shoreham Cement Works and its quarry, to make a difference to its future.
But there are a number of risks that will ultimately determine what happens to the site, and one of them is time: because the opportunity won’t be here for long.
(Click titles below to reveal/hide details of each risk)
For a consideration of the viability of this project,
please click here.
The South Downs National Park is currently preparing their plan to submit to the Government. The Government is trying to find places to build new homes. The Local Authorities are also struggling to find places to build new homes (as well as trying to boost their economies, and create new jobs), and the new National Planning Policy Framework promises more power for local people. So now is the moment when there is a genuine chance for something positive to happen, and for you to influence what that is.
Not everyone is going to care – so if you’re happy to leave decisions about the development of sensitive National Park areas to the Planners, or the Developers, or to anonymous Investors – that’s fine, there’s nothing here for you, move on.
But if you think that what happens in a particularly beautiful part of the South Downs is best decided by you, then this could be your chance to have a say.
If you have ideas about what you want for yourself, your family, your friends, your job, your business, your environment, your children, even your grand-children, and those ideas could affect what happens in the Shoreham Cement Works and its quarry, then we want to hear from you.
Firstly – we’re not developers. We’re a group of local people, from Shoreham and Steyning, who care enough about the future of the quarry to try and do something about it.
We started in March 2014, with the objective of “doing something exciting with the Cement Works”, and it’s been a vertical learning curve, and it’s probably going to get harder. However, the good news is – we’ve already come a long way, and we could be on the verge of creating something extraordinary in our corner of the country. And we want you to help us decide exactly what that is.
Although we didn’t consider ourselves developers – it soon became apparent that there were four necessary elements to being one:
- The plan.
- The money.
- The land.
- The planning permission.
So fast forward through two years of phone calls, networking, meetings, writing, researching, designing, drawing, publishing, learning, persuading, and many, many, instances of sheer good luck, up to today, were we now have:
- A Concept plan and accompanying Prospectus, submitted to the South Downs National Park, and ready for development into an Outline Plan.
- The money available from at least three funders to buy the land and work with us through the process of gaining Outline Planning.
- Been in negotiations with the company who have an Option on the land to purchase the land and join us in a Special Purpose Vehicle to achieve Planning.
- Been in negotiations with Chief Executives of the Local Authorities, including the South Downs National Park, to discuss the planning permissions.
Sometimes it feels like we’ve met every hurdle along the way, from having a budget of zero, through to planning officers telling us to basically push off. We’ve met with investors that expressed serious interest (and who even visited the site), who then simply vanished. We’ve had negotiations called off without plausible explanation. And we’ve had legal wrangles, and we’ve also lost, and gained, colleagues along the way.
And we’ve not even got to the difficult stuff yet.
Unfortunately, for the majority of us, it’s not good. The company that have an irrevocable Option Agreement to buy the entire site have told us that, if none of the plans for development get approval, and they end up owning the site, then they will grind chalk clinker on the site until 2042. And they mean it. And no one can stop them doing it.
That of course depends on what you think “the best” might be, which in turn depends on who, and where, you are. Some people would like the site returned to ‘natural downland’ through importing millions of tonnes of land-fill, some want conservation, some want homes, some want recreation, some want jobs, some want culture, some want business opportunities, some want regeneration, and some just want it left exactly as it is.
What’s certain is that, if you’re not involved in what happens, what happens may not be what you want.
The final decision as to what happens at the Chalk Pit will be made by a combination of: The South Downs National Park Authority, Adur and Worthing District Council, Horsham District Council, West Sussex District Council, Brighton Council, The Secretary of State for Communities, The Secretary of State for Housing and Planning, the land owner, and the developers and investors who finally get approval to build something.
That’s assuming that the land owner doesn’t just proceed with his plans to simply grind 300 tonnes of chalk clinker at the site every day.