Southfield move set for this summer

A SPECIAL needs school could be relocated from away from the proposed site of the Hatfield incinerator before a decision on the waste burner itself has even been made.

Students and staff at Southfield School could find themselves kicked out of New Barnfield by September THIS YEAR, if proposals by Hertfordshire County Council are green-lighted.

The council’s development control committee will meet at County Hall in Hertford on Tuesday to discuss an application to erect a special school at the former Howe Dell School playing fields off Woods Lane, Hatfield.

If councillors agree with officers’ recommendations and approve the plans, Southfield would move onto the site in time for the new school year.

If Veolia Environmental Services’ application to build a 380,000-tonne facility at New Barnfield is subsequently defeated, the school would return to New Barnfield after 12 months.

But if the plans are approved, then the school will move back in five years time, once the incinerator is complete.

This week, anti-incinerator campaigners slammed the county council for seemingly deciding the school’s fate before the incinerator’s.

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Cathy Roe of Hatfield Against Incineration said: “The plan shows no genuine consideration of the needs of the children of Southfield School.

“There is no need at all to move them so soon.

“The planning application for an incinerator will not even be looked at by the development control committee until June or July, and if it is approved then there will have further stages at which it is highly likely that the Government will reject it.”

A report on the council’s website says: “It is necessary to resolve the position of the school in advance of the determination of the application for the facility.

“The consideration of the school application at this time is not intended to and does not in any way pre-determine the outcome of the RERF [Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility] application, it merely makes provision for the orderly removal of the school to facilitate that development in the event that it is approved.”

The development control committee meeting will take place in the council chamber at County Hall at 10am on Tuesday.