Read the SBF guide to objecting

We believe the new proposed development in Bengeo Field is not appropriate for this location and should be objected to for a number of reasons:

1. Protecting the landscape and amenity of Bengeo Field

The rolling landscape of Bengeo Field with its attractive views of the Rib Valley have long been cherished. It was objectively found to be of exceptional value by the Herts County Council’s (HCC) Landscape Officer, and then by the Planning Inspector conducting the 11-day inquiry on the proposed quarry. Protecting the landscape of Bengeo Field from destruction was one of the key reasons the proposed mineral extraction was stopped!

Why would we want to risk destroying it now?

The Planning Inspector and Secretary of State also recognized the high amenity of Bengeo Field to the local and wider community. The pathway through Bengeo Field, which passes by the Lonely Oak, is extremely popular and surveys provide evidence that increasing number of people use it for a variety of activities. At the time of the public enquiry the EHDC planners agreed that housing development in the area could only be considered after there had been gravel extraction, which would reduce the height of the land possibly 10m or more – when the houses could not be viewed in the same way.

2. Impact on infrastructure – Bengeo Primary School, health services, and water/drainage

Hertford already experiences pressure on infrastructure and
services. The new development will bring new families and children
who will want to go to Bengeo Primary School, which is constrained
from further development. Many children living in Bengeo could, in the future, be considered outside of the catchment area and are therefore highly likely to be allocated to other schools in Hertford and Ware. There are no new local doctors, dentists or other amenities planned in addition to those already available in the area.

There is a potential risk to the drinking water aquifer below the site
and nearby boreholes – the housing development raises the risks
of contaminating Hertfordshire drinking water at a time of growing
shortages (and in the face of a push by HCC to build 100,000 new
homes in the county, all of which will require 110 litres per person
per day).

3. Traffic and road access concerns

The proposed development is planned to have road access onto
the B158 / Wadesmill Road halfway down the hill from Bengeo.
The speed that cars go down the hill will make exiting and entering
the site dangerous. An exit onto the Sacombe Road will add to the
already stressed single lane route making it more over-crowded and dangerous than it already is to both pedestrians and vehicles.

Concerns have also been raised that the proposed housing
development would cause additional strain to the already
overstretched traffic/highway system, and Bengeo Street and rat-run issues in Lower Bengeo that will only get worse.

4. Housing development needs and minerals extraction

The HERT4 area was approved, with the view that the Bengeo
Field area would be quarried first: Land to the north of Hertford
is allocated as a residential development site to accommodate a
minimum of 150 homes, with around 50 dwellings being provided to
the north of Sacombe Road by 2022; and, subject to the satisfactory
previous phased extraction of mineral deposits on the neighbouring
site, around 100 homes to the west of B158 Wadesmill Road between
2022 and 2027. Now that the proposal to extract gravel is no longer
relevant, the housing development is not appropriate.

HERT4 was designated to meet short and medium term housing needs. Given other developments that have come forward across Hertford, can EHDC confirm if there is still a quantifiable need?