New plans for future of sand quarry on edge of South Downs

Plans to continue extracting sand at a Washington quarry and changes to its restoration have been submitted.

Rock Common Quarry application site edged in red

Rock Common Quarry is operated by Dudman, which has leased the site from the Wiston Estate for the last decade.

The main quarry lies to the south of The Hollow whilst a smaller area, which comprises the sand processing area, lies to the north of the road.

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The land to the north also has planning permission for a ready-mixed concrete batching plant and for the importation of materials for blending.

An application has been submitted to West Sussex County Council to extend the time permitted for mineral extraction so all the remaining reserves of sand can be worked and processed.

But it is primarily about varying the currently approved restoration plans for the quarry.

If approved the application would permit the importation and placement of ‘suitable, inert classified engineering and restoration materials’.

It is estimated that there are between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes of sand reserves remaining within the quarry and these would be worked at the same time as the importation of material and the restoration of the quarry.

It is estimated the remaining sand reserves would be extracted over two to three years, while restoration would be completed within eight to ten years.

Inert materials used in the restoration could be in the form of materials dug elsewhere, unwanted inert materials from construction and demolition projects or from infrastructure projects such as constructing foundations, tunnelling or land shaping.

The original plan was to create a body of deep water within the final excavated void.

However a dry restored landform is now proposed, raising the quarry floor above the recovery level of the natural ground water.

The quarry is in close proximity to the former Windmill, Rock and Rough landfill sites.

The application describes how bodies of deep, open water with steep underwater slopes are no longer considered to be best practice because they are a danger to the public and would not provide suitable conditions for a wide and varied ecology.

It also notes the changes would also remove the risk of pollution from the neighbouring Windmill landfill site.

The Wiston Estate’s vision for the future of the quarry is for this to be an ‘integrated ecological resource and National Park visitor destination co-located with ecotourist accommodation forming a gateway to explore woodland and downland centred experiences’.

Longer term use of the restored land would be subject to further consultation and a separate planning permission.

To comment on the plans visit using code WSCC/028/21.