Chilling/Brenwich gravel extraction

Posted on 01 Apr 2008

The Solent Protection Society has registered its objection to the proposal by Hampshire County Council to extract up to 8 million tons of aggregates from this coastal area.

The Society was formed in 1956 to protest at the proposal by Texaco to build an oil refinery at Chilling. We were successful, although Caltex had bought Chilling and operated it as a livestock farm for many years, sending their animals to Fareham market. It was eventually bought by the County Council and the leader, Mr Emery Wallis is on record stating that the intention was to preserve it as agricultural land.

Supporting this is the Fareham Borough Landscape Assessment, Landscape Character Area 4, of May 1996, which you can read on the web. Search on Google for Chilling and you will find it quite easily.

This says, amongst other things that “this area is an undeveloped coastal plain, with steep cliffs of national geological significance, with extensive views out to sea and a windswept natural and generally unspoilt character.”

It is “one of the most extensive remaining areas of undeveloped coastline in Hampshire and maintenance of this rural character must be the highest priority. This should be achieved by avoiding potentially intrusive activities such as mineral extraction and landfill…”

There is more about protecting the ancient woodlands of Chilling and Thatchers copses and the Brownwich Valley.

A public meeting at Locks Heath was attended by over 600 people, twice the number that could be accommodated and, in order to avoid a riot, two meetings were held back to back in order that all those present could be accommodated. No one supported Hampshire’s proposal. We are very conscious that there are other parts of South Hampshire that are under the same threat, but we do feel that this is the most important because of its coastal location. The County Council should challenge the Government requirement for the County to provide more aggregate than is reasonable, and they should seek to increase the recovery of marine aggregates where there is some scope for this.

Their proposal to reinstate the area as wetland is the current politically correct approach, but we already have two first class wetlands directly adjacent at Hook and Titchfield Haven Reserve which provide exactly this environment.

The time will surely come when our descendants will curse us for allowing the destruction of good quality farmland.