Have You Signed Our Footpath Petition?

Have You Signed Our Footpath Petition?

Over 580 people already signed the petition calling to protect the footpath across Bengeo Field. Unfortunately, the landscape planning assessment focuses on the potential impact of the latest quarry application on the landscape from the roads surrounding the Field. We argue, that the quarry along the footpath will be unacceptable and will permanently damage the amenity of the bengeo Field. Look at the photo attached – taken by CAGE in 1990-ies in one of the quarry areas around Rickneys.

Please sign the petition to protect the landscape and views North of Hertford.

» Click here to view and sign the petition

Updated 18/3/18 with revised figure for people signing the petition (was 360 when originally published)

Minerals Plan: Make Your Voice Heard

Minerals Plan: Make Your Voice Heard

Herts County Council listened to our concerns and refused planning permission for the quarry last year. They are now recommending that Bengeo and Rickneys are removed from the Minerals Local Plan as a “preferred area for minerals working”.

You can now help to protect Bengeo from quarrying for good. All you have to do is add your name, address on page 1 of the attached Representation Form, sign and date on page 2, then post it to the address on page 2, or deliver the form to County Hall before 5pm Friday 9th February. This form supports the plan to remove Bengeo and Rickneys as a “preferred area for minerals working”.

Once the Minerals Local Plan is adopted and the area is no longer designated a “preferred area” it is very unlikely that any future applications for quarrying in the area would be approved.

By signing and returning this form you will play a vital part in ensuring that Bengeo never again has to face the risks posed by quarrying to our water supply, health and well-being.

Help preserve our clean air, fresh drinking water, rolling landscape, rights of way and the public amenity of our beautiful countryside for future generations.

Please do not hesitate. Make sure your voice is heard. Please complete and return the Representation Form today.

» Download Omission Sites Representation Form (Microsoft Word format)

» Download Omission Sites Representation Form (PDF)

Remember – this is a separate process to the revised second planning application for a quarry to be decided in early Spring 2018.

Landscape Officer Expresses Concerns

The County Council’s Landscape Officer has expressed concerns about access to the quarry site and the negative effects on Bengeo Field.

Whilst not opposing the planning application in principle, The Officer states: “… there is concern for the permanent negative landscape and visual effects as a result of the proposed access and haul route that lies outside the preferred area and requires further mitigation.

The report also raises concerns about restoration and a lack of detail in the planning application.

» Click here to read the Landscape Report

District Councillor Opposes Quarry

District Councillor for Bengeo Ward, Peter Ruffles, has written to the County Council detailing his objections to the proposed quarry north of Bengeo.

In his letter, Cllr Ruffles highlights the adequate supply of gravel, the benefits of the field for community use, environmental damage, highways issues and the potential withdrawal of the field from the Local Minerals Plan.

Peter Ruffles’ letter is reprinted below.

Continue reading →

Minerals Plan Consultation Opens

Minerals Plan Consultation Opens

A year and a half ago we were told that the only way to stop applications to quarry in Bengeo Field would be by getting it taken off the Minerals Local Plan (MLP). And it was considered impossible.

Today the new MLP recommends that neither Bengeo Field nor Rickneys are to be considered as “preferred areas” for quarrying in the next 14 years. No doubt there will be developers and landowners who win’t agree with this HCC recommendation. We, of course, are delighted that finally it is recommended that this land should not be threatened to become a quarry. Please respond to this consultation and let them know that we AGREE with the HCC MLP recommendation NOT TO include the land North of Hertford on the preferred list.

» Click here to respond to the consultation

District Council Withdraw Objection

District Council Withdraw Objection

East Herts District Council have written to the County Council withdrawing their earlier objection against the Bengeo quarry.

In their new letter they comment: “East Herts Council has no objections in principle to the proposed extraction, and in respect of the associated temporary built structures considers that the benefits of extraction and subsequent housing delivery would represent very special circumstances that would clearly outweigh the harm.” AND “Whilst it is acknowledged that the proposed office buildings, bunds, and associated equipment would fail to preserve the openness of the Green Belt, and therefore represent inappropriate development, these are only temporary structures.

However, the letter goes on to raise some concerns about the application: “In respect of the detail of the proposed scheme, the Council does have some concern, as mentioned previously, that the site is of an open aspect in an elevated position, publicly accessible, and in the immediate surroundings of Hertford and links to Bengeo and other villages and is less contained than other areas of Rickneys Quarry.

The Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign is trying to establish what lies behind this change in the council’s response. To keep fully up top date with developments please follow our Facebook page.

» Read the council’s letter here

Bengeo Field Usage Survey

Bengeo Field Usage Survey

We are carrying out an updated survey about Bengeo Field is used by the public. Please can you respond to this very short questionnaire on Surveymonkey & share with everyone you know in Hertford & surrounding areas. If we want to influence the decision about the future of Bengeo Field, we need to provide the results of the survey before Christmas.

» Follow this link to fill out the survey

Campaign Report

Campaign Report

The new quarry application is due to be considered by Hertfordshire County Council Development Control Committee on 25th January 2018 at 10am at County Hall (as before in March). Stop Bengeo Quarry (SBQ) invite the attendance of all local residents to demonstrate to members of the deciding Committee the strength of local opposition against the new plan. County Councillor Andrew Stevenson commented:

“The strength of community feeling about the quarry applications is illustrated by the huge support the SBQ campaign has received. SBQ has been very organised, exploring every facet of the issues, and this is important. A quarry this close to an urban area is simply unacceptable. I fully support SBQ and will continue to work with them in my capacity as County Councillor to oppose these applications. I urge everyone who has not already done so to email your views to the County Council and the Planning Inspector.”

The case is currently being considered by the HCC Planning Officer and relevant specialists. The HCC Planning Officer’s recommendation to the Committee will only be announced 2-3 weeks before the meeting and it cannot be assumed that this plan will be recommended for refusal, like the previous one.

SBQ is also active in the appeal against HCC’s decision to refuse the previous application, having managed to secure rule 6 status, which means that they effectively become a third party in the appeal. The campaign group believe that it is important to be involved in the appeal, as the issue of water supply pollution remains a huge concern. The appeal public hearing is scheduled for 1st – 4th May 2018 at County Hall and again SBQ invite as many people as possible to attend, especially on the first day, to ensure a strong local presence and demonstrate how much the issue matters to the community.

Aska Pickering, SBQ Chairperson, urges people to keep using Bengeo Field “We believe that Bengeo Field is now visited even more by cyclists, families, joggers, ramblers… We would like to thank all the residents for their incredible support and involvement against the applicant’s latest attempts to gain approval to quarry in Bengeo Field. Thank you all for your objections letters and emails to Hertford County Council and the Planning Inspectorate, and for your generous donations.”

HCC recommends that the draft Minerals Local Plan should no longer include Bengeo Field and Rickneys as a preferred area in the future. SBQ welcome this recommendation and HCC’s recognition of the key issues identified by the campaign. If approved, this will be of immense importance for stopping the development of quarries in this area for at least 15 years. SBQ encourage people to respond to the MLP consultation, which is about to open for residents to have their say.

SBQ are particularly interested to hear from any groups (formal or informal) who visit Bengeo Field and wish to ensure the walk along the Bengeo Field footpath (which is now registered as Asset of Community Value) does not turn into a path alongside a deep quarry.

How you can help

  • Please sign the petition (link below)
  • Display the SBQ logo – available from Secret Garden Florist at the Avenue
  • Follow our updates on this website or social media
  • Contact us with any ideas and suggestions on info@stopbengeoquarry.org.uk
  • Join us on 25th January 2018 and 1st-4th May 2018 at County Hall to show the decision-makers that we really mean to stop this quarry.

» Click here to see the petition