Planning officers have supported two applications by UK Oil & Gas for another 18 months of work at the oil exploration site at Broadford Bridge in West Sussex.
They said the extension would have minimal impacts on people or the environment and would help to meet a need for local hydrocarbon exploration.
UKOG said it needed more time at Broadford Bridge to review data to decide whether oil extraction was viable.
The applications – one of site operations and one for security fencing, gates and cabins – come before West Sussex County Council’s planning committee on Tuesday 11 September.
A report for the committee concluded that the extension until 31 March 2020 had:
“the potential to result in impacts on the highway, local residents, and the environment.”
It acknowledged there were “a large number of objections” including from the local West Chiltington Parish Council.
But the report said:
- The number of vehicles required to carry out work at the site “would not be significant enough to raise concerns regarding highway capacity or road safety”
- Retaining the site would not involve any activity and the site had limited visibility
- Restoration was over a limited time period and would not have an adverse impact on the area.
The report concluded the development would:
“have minimal impacts on people or the environment and would help to meet an identified need for local hydrocarbon exploration and appraisal.”
Planning permission for exploration, testing and evaluation of hydrocarbons at Broadford Bridge runs out on 15 September 2018. The fencing application runs out on 30 September 2018.
Permission for an exploration site was first granted in February 2013. It was for three years from the start of work. Site construction began in September 2014. Consent was extended for a year in September 2017.
The current applications were opposed by 38 members of the public, as well as the local parish council, Broadford bridge Action Group, Keep Kirdford and Wisborough Green and Campaign to Protect Rural England Sussex Countryside Trust.
- The applications are due to be discussed by West Sussex County Council planning committee from 12.20pm-1pm. The meeting is at County Hall, West Street, Chichester PO19 1RQ.