Here’s when decision will be made on Loxwood Clay Pit scheme

More than 1,600 people have objected to plans to build a clay quarry and construction materials recycling plant in Loxwood.

The application is due to be considered by West Sussex County Council’s planning committee on Wednesday May 18, with a recommendation from officers to refuse.

A report to the committee said that applicant Loxwood Clay Pits Ltd wanted to extract 375,000 tonnes of clay from the site in Pallinghurst Woods over a 30-year period to use for brick-making.

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There would be a phased restoration of the six-hectare clay pit using inert waste while the recycling facility would process 25,000 tonnes of inert construction, demolition and excavation waste per year.

Site location plan

Officers said the clay extraction operation appeared to be ‘entirely speculative’ as no link had been shown between how much would be dug up and how much was needed in the county.

They added: “Notwithstanding that fact, restoration of the clay pit with up to 375,000 tonnes of inert waste is not acceptable.”

As for the recycling plant, officers said the applicant had not demonstrated that there was a need for it ‘on a greenfield site in the countryside’.

The officers’ views will no doubt boost the hopes of those opposed to the application, including Genesis co-founder Mike Rutherford.

In a letter of objection to the council, he raised concerns about noise pollution, adding: “This proposed  operation would mean the destruction of this beautiful woodland and would have a severe impact upon the enjoyment of this area.

“The beautiful bird song and wildlife, including rare bat species, would be replaced by highly intrusive noise from HGV movements, skip lorries and increase in traffic on a minor road with no public footpaths.”

HGVs were high on the list of many people’s concerns.

If the plans are approved, lorries ranging from 18-32 tonnes would go to and from the site 42 times a day via Loxwood Road.

As well as the objections registered with the council, a petition opposing the application has attracted 5,200 signatures.

To view the application, log on to westsussex.planning-register.co.uk and search for WSCC/030/21.

The planning meeting will start at 10.30am and will be webcast via the council’s website.