Incinerator decision day: Politician berates County Hall for treatment of youngsters at Southfield School

PUBLISHED: 11:35 24 October 2012 | UPDATED: 21:00 24 October 2012

Cllr Mandy Perkins

Cllr Mandy Perkins

Archant

HERTS County Council's treatment of schoolchildren with special needs has been blasted by a borough politician at a crunch meeting.

This morning, Wednesday, Councillor Mandy Perkins - who is responsible for planning at Welwyn Hatfield Council - berated her County Hall counterparts for the impact the plans have had on neighbouring Southfield School.

If plans are approved, youngsters will be moved to another site while work is carried out, and fears were voiced that the disruption would have a horrific effect on their education.

Cllr Perkins told a crunch meeting: “The way the school has been treated by Herts County Council brings no credit to the authority.”

She said the impact on the school is one of Welwyn Hatfield Council’s chief objections to the plans - saying a conclusion that youngsters would not be affected “stretches credulity to breaking point”.

Cllr Perkins said: “When all the effects on the school are considered, there’s no option but to conclude it would have an adverse impact on the quality of life of a particularly sensitive group of students.”

She said Welwyn Hatfield Council has no objection “in principle” to incineration, but questioned the choice of site.

Decision-makers were told: “We remain highly sceptical about the reliabilty and the impartiality of the site allocation process.

“The suitability of non-Green Belt sites should have been properly investigated before Green Belt sites were considered.”

The Conservative councillor warned that the application for a 380,000-tonne a year plant would have an adverse impact on the community, and called for it to be turned down.

She pointed out that English Heritage had objected to the application because of the impact it would have on nearby Hatfield House.

And Cllr Perkins also said opportunities to use heat from the plant would be missed.

A crunch meeting, which will see the application decided by Herts County Council’s development control committee, is expected to go on all day.

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