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.
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 email@example.com
- 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.
The Stop Bengeo Quarry have submitted their formal response to The Planning Inspectorate regarding the appeal against refusal of planning permission by Hertfordshire County Council in March 2017.
The Campaign will also be making further detailed submissions and appearing at the Public Enquiry in 2018.
Our consultant geologist Bryan Lovell has written to the Planning Inspectorate detailing concerns over the threat to local drinking water presented by the proposed quarry north of Bengeo.
In his letter, Dr Lovell describes the geology of the site and the risks identified not only by the applicant’s own consultants, Hafren Water, but also by a report for McMullen’s Brewery in 1992. The risks were also identified by the Lea Valley Water Company in 1990.
“Fractures in the chalk aquifer mean that any pollution can reach the Wadesmill Road boreholes rapidly. But clearing pollution from the small pores within the body of chalk rock is a lengthy and costly business. By the time any pollution is detected, lasting damage may well have been done to Hertford’s aquifer. Monitoring of pollution as it takes place is not the main issue: pollution must be prevented from the word go. ”
Dr Bryan Lovell
The letter goes on to address the necessary steps that would need to be taken to protect the water supply and the feasibility of those steps.
In his closing comments, Dr Lovell says: “You wouldn’t drill boreholes in the chalk at the edge of a working quarry to supply a town with water. So don’t put a quarry by these boreholes”.
Hertford & Stortford MP Mark Prisk has reiterated his support for the Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign.
Writing on his Facebook page he says: “It’s very disappointing to see another attempt to force a quarry onto the community at Bengeo. The case against remains clear – it would be bad for air quality, bad for traffic and bad for water quality. All of us made this clear last time, and like other members of the community I remain opposed to this application, just as I did the last.”
Supporters of the Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign (SBQ) came together for a Summer Walk across Bengeo Field, as the fight to preserve the local landscape continues. On Sunday 10th September Stop Bengeo Quarry hosted the event, which consisted of a walk to the Woodman pub in Chapmore End, where a day of live music and a barbecue took place for the community event. More than 120 people attended during the day, to back the fight to Stop Bengeo Quarry, which is getting ready for its next round of campaigning to gain further support.
Adults, children and dogs gathered at the Old Oak Tree on the path at Bengeo Field to begin a day in aid of the green space between Wadesmill and Sacombe Road. Supporters were invited to wear red for Stop Bengeo Quarry or green to celebrate our countryside, with prizes for the best outfits. It was a fun day out for all the family, with activities for children along the walk, and a selection of fantastic live music at the Woodman pub, including local acts such as Baron Goodlove and Chloe Turner.
The campaign now needs the support of the public again as the Bengeo Quarry applicant has appealed against Hertford County Council’s decision to reject the application. The next stage in the process will require expert consultation which SBQ will need to raise funding for. SBQ also needs to prepare for the possibility of the Bengeo Quarry applicant making another smaller application in the same area.
There have been some promising developments in the Minerals Local Plan published recommendations by Hertford County Council, which suggest that neither Bengeo Field nor Rickneys would be considered as a “preferred area for quarrying”. However, the final decision will take until late 2018, so the issue is far from over.
The Bengeo quarry applicant has now appealed against the rejection decision made by Herts County Council’s Development Control Committee in March this year. The appeal has been logged with Planning Inspectorate and HCC will be requested to defend their decision. We hope this will be a public hearing and we, the residents, will be able to have our views and the evidence presented by our experts. It does mean though that we are into the next stage of the process and we will have to consider experts, barristers, etc.
We knew that stopping the application in March did not mean the end of the campaign. Please show your support and help us raise the awareness and funds for the experts that we will be carefully considering to represent us at the appeal. We won before and WITH YOUR SUPPORT we are well positioned to stop it again. More detailed information to follow soon.