Locals to be engaged in future of derelict Upper Beeding site

Shoreham cement works ENGSNL00120111222174109
Shoreham cement works ENGSNL00120111222174109

A parish council has released a list of ideas that it would like to see at the derelict cement works which includes a music centre, bus museum and a tree top restaurant.

Upper Beeding Parish Council recently met with Steve Dudman the owner of Dudman Group of Companies, an independent business that currently rents space at the Old Shoreham Cement Works and has an option to buy the site.

Village parish councillor Sean Teatum said: “The meeting was very positive and Steve has some great ideas which he would like the community to be involved in.

“We shared with him some of the community’s thoughts and ideas so far which he will review and update us on.

“I think we all realise that to get something to happen with the site it has to be commercially viable,” he added.

One option raised by the community was to build a South Downs Visitor Centre, which will include parks, a campsite, shops, cafe, hostel, stables and cycle centre.

The list also includes a riverside hotel and leisure facilities with jetty; a sports centre; art gallery bringing local artists in to sell their painting and their artefacts; and limited affordable housing.

Steve Dudman told the County Times that the outcome will be ‘a joint pursuit of benefit for all the local community’.

He said: “When the owners and stakeholders decide to pursue the development of the former cement works at Upper Beeding, we will all be committed to delivering an effective and planned community engagement programme.

“Our intention will be to ensure that the company uses a ‘discuss, agree and implement’ process rather than a ‘decide, announce and defend’ process. This will enable everyone to capture and explore all different levels of varied stakeholder thoughts and ideas, which in turn, will inform any and/or final proposals. In other words, the outcome will be a joint pursuit of benefit for all the local community providing of course, that any proposals will have to be both environmentally, commercially and financially sustainable.

“As you can understand with such projects, there is a great deal of background work that has to be undertaken before the commencement of the engagement process and once this has been completed, we will advertise and invite how all the varied stakeholders and public can get involved.”

Mr Dudman added that if you would like to register an interest, contact Dudman Group of Companies’ engagement colleague Julie Wilkinson at Julie@jpwconsultinghants.co.uk

The parish council is set to meet Richard Andrew, the managing director of Hargreaves, which currently owns the site.