The first planning application for a quarry north of Bengeo was turned down by Hertfordshire County Council’s Development Control Committee on Wednesday 22nd March 2017.
The reasons for refusing planning permission are summarised as:
- Harm to the green belt
- Detrimental effect on health
- Impact on rights of way
- Working outside of Minerals Preferred Area
Additionally, the Council Committee registered concerns about protecting Hertford’s water supply as a point for further investigation and suggested a revision of the Minerals Local Plan should consider taking this area out of preferred area list
Councillors were unanimous in their decision, with many voicing their concerns about the proposals.
The decision came after the council’s planning officer Felicity Hart issued a report recommending rejection of the planning application.
Why was Highways rejection not included?
The Planning Officer’s recommendation included a highways reason for refusal on the basis that the new site entrance would have been dangerous. Unbeknownst to the Campaign, the applicants’ transport consultant sent HCC Highways a drawing of a different design, presumably with road widening to allow lorries to wait and turn. The HCC Highways removed their objection to the proposal only the week before the Committee meeting. We are seeking further information and clarifications on this matter.
Does this mean the threat of the quarry has gone forever?
Sadly, no. It’s possible that the applicant may submit an amended proposal intended to address the reasons for this application’s rejection. They have 12 months to do that. Alternatively, they might appeal against the Council’s decision. The time limit is 6 months.
Also, for as long as the Bengeo field is part of the County Council’s “Preferred Area 2” for gravel extraction there is a risk that a new application will be made that could succeed. For example, Hanson might apply for an extension to Rickneys Quarry that includes the field. If that happened some of the grounds that led the committee to reject the application on Wednesday may not apply.
There’s more work to be done and we will keep you updated.