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

District Council Formally Objects to Quarry

District Council Formally Objects to Quarry

East Herts District Council has formally objected to the second planning application for a quarry north of Bengeo.

In a letter to Hertfordshire County Council, the authority’s planning officer Susie Defoe writes: “… the proposed office buildings, bunds and associated equipment would adversely impact the openness of the Green Belt and therefore would not constitute appropriate development“.

The letter also refers to damage caused by the “invasive” proposals and the the lack of detailed restoration plans.

In concluding, the District Council’s letter states: “East Herts Council objects in principle to the development and is not satisfied that the previous reasons for refusal have been properly addressed satisfactorily“.

» Click here to read the District Council’s full response

Mark Prisk MP Reiterates Support

Hertford & Stortford MP Mark Prisk has reiterated his support for the Stop Bengeo Quarry campaign.

File picture

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.”

Key Objections to New Proposed Quarry

Key Objections to New Proposed Quarry

These are the initial points in response to the new application for a quarry north of Bengeo. Public responses are needed by 2nd November 2017 sent to HCC Spatial Planning:

  1. The new application area is within the current Minerals Local Plan “preferred area” (you may recall the previous application included phase 4, which was outside the preferred). However, the new draft MLP is in the process of approval and it has been recommended by HCC that Bengeo Field is no longer considered as preferred area. The formal approval of new MLP is expected in 2018.
  2. It is important to point out that in the old (current) MLP this area was agreed as preferred area only as an extension to Rickney’s quarry. Therefore, we argue, the application is not compliant with current MLP.
  3. The new proposal suggests extracting 1.25 million tonnes rather than 1.75 million tonnes. It is proposed to last 5-8 years (originally 8-10 years). Extension can be requested once work starts.
  4. This proposal appears to be smaller than the original one. However, proposed hours of operation are 7.00 -18.00 Monday to Friday and 7.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays. Proposed lorry movements are estimated at 80 per day on average (40 in, 40 out). All HGVs to turn left when exiting the site to go along Wadesmill Road to the A602 and A10. This will be a huge impact on roads, traffic and the road entrance (which appears to remain the same – from B158). Concerns about queuing lorries remain the same.
  5. The amended application still disrupts use of the footpath because lorries will have to cross it to get to the exit onto the B158, and potentially the loss of amenity is worse because the plant operation will be adjacent to the footpath rather than down the slope next to the road (as suggested in previous application). The byway across the Bengeo Field has been registered as Asset of Community Value by EHDC and its use as a local community amenity has been huge (some data has been provided by SBQ landscape & amenity survey).
  6. The new application suggests a new pond (attenuation area) in the middle of the field not far from the current path. Additionally, there is no detailed profile of the landscape post quarry and it is unclear how the extracted material will impact on the overall landscape (it will be a big hole). The impact on the beautiful landscape will be immense. A dangerous pond next to the path will not enhance the landscape. The environmental impact will be unacceptable – on both fauna and flora. The applicants still plan to quarry right up to ancient St. John’s Wood.
  7. The impact on Bengeo Primary School children and residents of Hertford and neighbouring areas remains a huge concern. The risk of unacceptable dust and noise risk remain a huge concern for those living around the area.
  8. There will no stockpile area as suggested in the previous application. Instead, there will be the mobile dry-screening at the point of extraction (more noise?).
  9. The huge risk of polluting the water supply for the whole of Hertford and surrounding areas remains.
  10. Hertfordshire’s gravel needs are already met in surplus, and there is no need for more gravel or more quarries for the next 15 years at least.

The applicants have submitted this new application by presenting amended wording to the previous application. Please DO NOT respond in the same way. Please respond in full, even if you may repeat some of your previous arguments you put forward against the previous application. Please refrain from saying “all my previous arguments stand and additionally….”. It is best if you state ALL your concerns against this new application in full.

The application details should be found here (please click on documents) https://cloud1.atriumsoft.com/HCCePlann…/loadFullDetails.do…

All comments need to be received by 2 November 2017. Please send your response to Ms Felicity J Hart quoting ref: PL\0870\17 – either by email (spatialplanning@hertfordshire.gov.uk) or by post (Felicity Hart, Spatial Planning and Economy Unit, CHN216, County Hall, Hertford SG13 8DN). Everybody can submit their response – if you live outside Hertford it may help to explain your connection (family, visitors, tourists etc). Every letter really matters!

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