Bengeo Quarry Plans Recommended For Refusal

The planning officer’s report to the County Council has recommended that planning permission for the quarry north of Bengeo be refused.

Following months of campaigning against the applicant’s second application we’re delighted the council’s planning department have recommended that the plans be rejected.

In her report to the council, planning officer Felicity Hart gives six reasons for recommending refusal – development in the green belt, effect on the landscape, health issues, negative effects on rights of way, development outside a preferred area and noise disturbance.

Chair of the Stop Bengeo Quarry Campaign, Aska Wisniewska Pickering, commented: “We are all delighted with the recommendation of the HCC Planning Officer to refuse the second revised application to turn Bengeo Field into a quarry. We hope the HCC Development Control Committee Councillors will follow this recommendation on 26 May.”

“We are calling for all the residents to also join us for the opening of the Planning Inspectorate’s public inquiry on 1st May at 10 am. It is vital that the inspector is given the opportunity to hear and see the strength of local opposition in relation to the proposed quarry on Bengeo Field. We have been campaigning for over two years and we are hoping that this will be the final time this totally unacceptable proposal is being considered”

The County Council’s Development Control Committee will meet on Thursday 26th April 2018 at 10am to make a decision on the plans. REgardless of any decision made by the council, the applicant has already lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, who will be holding a public enquiry on the plans at the beginning of May. A recommendation will then be made to the Government, with the Secretary Of State Savid Javid making the final decision.

» Read the full report here

Campaign Submits Formal Response

The Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign has submitted their formal response to the submission of further information in respect of extraction of Sand and Gravel north of Bengeo.

The document constitutes the response of the Stop Bengeo Quarry (SBQ) group to the letter of consultation regarding further documentation submitted by the applicant.

In summary, our submission states: “In our opinion the developer provided the new information in a very piecemeal manner and references proved difficult to follow. This also made it difficult to disseminate the information and ensure that all the correct documents were available to the public … The Cumulative Impact Assessment … is flawed and only examines the visual impact of a quarry together with houses in a very perfunctory manner … We do not believe that the Hafren Water report sufficiently covers the actual risk to groundwater.

» Read the full document here

Latest Support from Mark Prisk MP

Local MP for Hertford & Stortford, Mark Prisk, has again written to the County Council stating his objection top the proposed quarry north of Bengeo.

In his letter to Planning Officer Felicity Hart, he writes: “I am writing to reiterate my objection to this application. Many of the underlying problems with the previous application, which the council rejected, remain with this application: the impact on air quality; traffic generation; the risks of pollution to the water supply. I understand the applicant has sought to provide additional information concerning soil contamination; a cumulative impact assessment and a Non- Technical Summary.”

He continues: “I support local residents’ views that these are inadequate and fail to satisfactorily answer concerns related to the original application. The desk-based soil contamination study fails to provide a full survey of surface chalk which would be the minimum required in these circumstances. The impact assessment is incomplete, lacking as it does any account of the impact on the landscape or Green Belt land. The NTS has several omissions or contradictions, not least over the increase in traffic.  Most significantly, the applicant has still not addressed the threat to Hertford’s water supply. Given this I wish to record my strong objection to this second application for a quarry on this site.

Calling All Artists & Poets

Calling All Artists & Poets

Together with Bengeo Primary School, we are organising a childrens’ poems and posters competition.

How does the idea of a huge quarry on Bengeo Field make you feel?

Does it make you sad? Or angry? Or both?

Do you want to stop in happening?

The DO something about it – during the Easter Holidays!

Stop Bengeo Quarry is organising a competition for the best poster or poem that celebrates how you feel about the Bengeo Field and presents your ideas about losing it.

There will be prizes for the best entries and we will use them in our campaign  to stop the quarry happening!

If you design a poster, it should be in colour and in A4 size. It should be bold and easy to photocopy. It should use words and images.

If you write a poem, remember all the lovely things we could lose (even the skylarks) and what we will get in return!. You could illustrate your poem.

Give it to your teacher, straight after the holidays. Why not walk across the field on a fine day to be inspired.

All children living in Bengeo are encouraged to bring their posters & poems to a coffee fundraising event on 15th April at The Bengeo Club; or to Bengeo School on 17th April. They can also be emailed to info@stopbengeoquarry.org.uk. The deadline for all competition entries is end of 18th April.

Oliver Heald MP Supports Campaign

Member of Parliament for North East Herts, Oliver Heald, has written to the Planning Inspectorate and Hertfordshire County Council fully supporting the objections of Hertfordshire County Councillors Andrew Stephenson and Ken Crofton and District Councillor Michael McMullen to plans for a quarry north of Bengeo.

We welcome Sir Oliver’s support as he joins our own local MP Mark Prisk in objecting to the plans, along with local councillors, civic groups and residents’ associations.

Archaeology Found Across Bengeo Field

Our latest film looks at possible Roman remains identified in Bengeo Field.

Decision time come in April and May and we encourage everyone to lend their support by coming to County Hall for both the 2nd Planning Application meeting and the Appeals lodged by the applicant.

We are fighting on three fronts – the revised (or second) planning application, the appeal against refusal of the first (and potentially the second) planning application; and the Minerals Local Plan Review. The processes are becoming increasingly hard for local people to understand and engage with but we are determined to fight and protect Bengeo Field and the wider community.

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.