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.

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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

 

CPRE Continue To Oppose

The Campaign to Protect Rural England has written to the County Council restating their concerns about the potential quarry north of Bengeo.

In their letter to planning officer Felicity Hart, they say: “we still have a number of concerns about the proposals and our previous letters are still relevant“.

They also refer to uncertainty regarding land to the south of the site and the current Minerals Plan review.

» Read the CPRE letter here

Sign Our New Petition

What’s next for the Stop Bengeo Quarry Campaign?

  1. Please sign the petition against the new quarry application just on the edge of Hertford
  2. If you missed the 2nd November deadline you can still send your email to Felicity Hart at the County Council. We have 2 weeks’ extension and every email really counts.
  3. The new application is likely to be considered by HCC Development Control Committee on 20 Dec, if not in early 2018. And the public hearing into the appeal is scheduled for 1-4 May 2018.

Thank you for being so amazing, responsive, supportive and proactive. None of this would have happened without every single person who helped with the SBQ campaign. Thank you!

» Sign the petition

» Send email to Felicity Hart at HCC

Civic Society Urge Refusal

Hertford Civic Society have written to the County Council urging them to refuse planning permission for a quarry north of Bengeo.

Their four-page letter acknowledges the need for gravel extraction but raises a number of issues about the suitability of the Bengeo location, including the impact on the local environment; noise, traffic and dust nuisance, lack of a detailed restoration plan,  and the changes included in the current Minerals Plan Review, which removes the Bengeo field from the list of Preferred Sites.

A second planning application was submitted after the first application was refused earlier in the year. The original plans is also the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the County Council’s decision.

» Read the Civic Society’s letter here