Restoration plans for Boxgrove Quarry which would involve importing nearly one million tonnes of inert material over five years have run into strong opposition from the South Downs National Park Authority.
A meeting of its planning committee was warned by a county councillor representing the area the lives of local people would be ‘blighted’ and protected wildlife threatened.
The location is about 100m south of the park, and the committee agreed to object to the planning application – on which the final decision will be made by West Sussex County Council. The committee declared it would have an unacceptable impact on the ‘purposes of the park’ and its setting, in terms of landscape and visual impact and amenity.
It also agreed the proposals went against Chichester district local planning policies and county minerals planning policy.
Committee members were told more than 100 objections had been received by the county council so far from local residents, visitors, businesses and the South Downs Society.
County councillor Mike Hall, who represents Chichester North, said at the meeting the lives and businesses of local residents would be blighted if the scheme went ahead.
“It will threaten both flora and fauna, which are now re-established, including protected and declining species, many of which will require a licence to be relocated,” he warned.
Cllr Hall added later that badgers, bats and invertebrates were among the species. “There are species in there which it would be very difficult to justify disturbing,” he said.
He told the committee that noise, dust and vibration through rural villages would also impact on the national park.
The development, proposed by Inert Recycling (UK) Ltd, aimed to restore the site but alongside a recycling operation.
It was considered the recycling would have the greatest landscape and visual impact, and there might be little merit in restoring the quarry, which had naturally regenerated over time.