Why Stop?

We question

If there is an existing need for the houses to be built under the Local District Plan

The (EHDC) Local Plan states that houses should be built on the condition of prior extraction of minerals from the site. This has not happened therefore building houses is contrary to the Local Plan. Since minerals are no longer likely to be extracted, we believe that the land should be returned to the Green Belt and LGS1 as suggested by the Bengeo Area Neighbourhood Plan.

Bengeo Field should not be considered for any development, given that at the quarry enquiry the Planning Inspector, working on behalf of the Secretary of State, agreed that this field should remain in its natural state, saying:

“These landscapes are especially important as a foil to urban settlements. There is considerable anecdotal evidence about the role the appeal site plays in this regard, which is borne out of evidence about the actual use of the formal and informal footpath network. I consider that the appeal site is a landscape resource and visual amenity of considerable importance because of its proximity to the urban area”.

We believe

Now that the quarry has been stopped, and the site is not expected to be included in the Minerals Local Plan as the preferred area for quarrying, the area should be restored to its original green belt status

Bengeo Field needs to be protected from further development and the destruction of a beautiful landscape that is much loved and utilised by local residents.

The interests of the community are not at the heart of this proposal, and will benefit the landowner and the developers.

“2.1 The land to the North of Hertford is a strategic allocation (HERT4) within the District Plan, which was adopted on 23rd October 2018. As such, the site has been released from the Green Belt and is immediately available for development, provided that relevant policy criteria are complied with in any future planning application.

2.2 It should be noted, however, that the HERT4 allocation is split into two parcels, which is recognised in Part I. of the policy:

I. 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.

2.3 For the avoidance of any doubt, it should be noted that this report and accompanying Masterplanning Framework refer solely to the 50 homes to be delivered to the north of Sacombe Road by 2022.

2.4 In respect of the 100 remaining dwellings to be delivered as part of the overall 150 homes within the HERT4 allocation, it should be made clear that these would only be delivered on the basis of the minerals being extracted on the adjacent Ware Park, Wadesmill Road, site, which has been subject to recent mineral applications and dismissal by the Secretary of State following the appeal process. The policy position of development for this further part of the site allocation being conditional, is because Green Belt and associated land profiling relationship issues would currently preclude its acceptability in planning terms and the Council would not seek to bring forward development in this location without resolution of such issues.”

Draft Minerals and Waste Local Plan

The current Local Minerals Plan (2002-2016) was adopted in 2007 and was due to be renewed from 2017. The plan includes Bengeo Field as the “preferred area” for quarrying. While the new draft Minerals and Waste Local Plan (MWLP) is being considered, the old one is still regarded as the basis for planning decisions.

When the District Development Plan and HERT4 were being determined, the land of Bengeo Field was a “preferred area” for quarrying. The emerging plan does not include Bengeo Field as a proposed area for quarrying or landfill but it is currently under public consultation and the proposed approach cannot be taken for granted.

The ongoing consultation will help determine whether Bengeo Field will be taken out of the plan as a preferred area for quarrying. While we very much hope it will NOT be included, the decision about this is expected to be finalised by April 2024. Whilst Bengeo Field is still officially included in the existing Local Mineral Plan, no decisions about any housing development in this area should be made.

Protect it against greenfield

We believe Bengeo Field needs to be protected from further development and the destruction of a beautiful landscape that is much loved and utilised by local residents. There is clearly very strong local objection to further development in Bengeo Field and we need to let EHDC planners take this into account and respond to our concerns. The planning decision will be made by the elected District Council members on the Development Committee, and we are asking our elected District Councilors and their political parties to represent our community and oppose the loss of this landscape and amenity.

Public Meeting Presentation

If you missed our public meeting on 1st December, you can view the slides by clicking here.