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Have your say on the future of landmark site in South Downs National Park

Have your say on the future of landmark site in South Downs National Park

June 7, 2022

Picture of Shoreham Cement Works with chalk cliffs in background
Picture by Richard Reed

A public consultation launches today (7 June) to seek views on the future redevelopment of the Shoreham Cement Works site.

The South Downs National Park Authority is holding an eight-week consultation as it works up a planning blueprint for the 44-hectare site that will guide any future development.

The derelict site in West Sussex is located in the narrowest part of the National Park and offers exceptional opportunities for an exemplar, sustainable mixed-use development.

The cement works were built by the concrete industry pioneer, Oscar Faber. His notable works include the Menin Gate in Ypres and he advised Winston Churchill on the construction of the Mulberry Harbours. Large-scale cement production began on the site at the end of the 19th century and the current buildings were completed in the late 1940s, until chalk extraction and cement production ended in 1991.

The principle of creating a strategic development that is compatible with the special qualities and statutory purposes of the National Park was established in the South Downs Local Plan, which was formally adopted in 2019.

The Authority is now seeking views on the Issue and Options version of the Area Action Plan (AAP), which is effectively a “mini Local Plan” for the site. The consultation includes 28 questions, covering a wide range of topics, including housing, cultural heritage, leisure, and employment.

A specially-commissioned film has been produced that sets the scene of the consultation and gives the public a more detailed look at the site.

Pic of Ian Phillips, chair of South Downs National Park AuthorityIan Phillips, Chair of the National Park Authority, said: “The site is one of the largest brownfield sites in the south of England and remains a landmark, with its chimney visible for miles around and impressive topography displaying the geology of the South Downs.

“Today this legacy of past industry sits within the South Downs National Park, designated for its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage. The site needs a new role that makes best use of its unique characteristics and relates to the National Park’s purposes – to be regenerated as a place that is truly special and embodies values that will be both relevant and sustainable for a new era.

“The site offers exceptional opportunities for both nature and people as part of a visionary development proposal.”

Four potential development scenarios for the site were used for transport and viability modelling. They are:

  • Mixed use scheme with employment and 400 new homes
  • Mixed use scheme with employment and 240 new homes
  • Mixed use leisure-led scheme and 200 new homes
  • Mixed use scheme with employment and 84 new homes.

A mixed used development could include residential and commercial areas, as well as areas for wildlife and leisure.

This initial consultation will help determine which option is taken forward to the next stage of the planning process. The public will have then have the opportunity to comment on the Preferred Option of the Area Action Plan, which will include detailed policies related to the future development of the site.

The National Park Authority does not own the site but the final AAP will be the agreed masterplan that will guide any future planning application from a developer.

Tim Slaney, Director of Planning at the National Park Authority, said: “This is an early stage consultation and we’re seeking views about the site and its future from anyone with an interest. We hope that it will attract responses, not only from local communities and key organisations, but also from a broader audience.

“We believe Shoreham Cement Works represents a unique and exciting opportunity for an exceptional quality development that complements and celebrates the site and makes a positive contribution to the National Park. We look forward to the public having their say on the future of this important site.”

The consultation runs until 2 August. Take part in the consultation by visiting our consultation page.

To see some FAQs, visit our frequently asked questions page.