Quarry company asks inspector to consider changes made in new planning proposal

Brett Aggregates has applied to quarry Green Belt land at the former Hatfield Aerodrome site, in Col

Brett Aggregates submitted a new planning application in September, as well as appealing the rejected decision in July. - Credit: Image supplied

Since the original refusal of the application for a quarry on the site of the Hatfield Aerodrome, Brett Aggregates has submitted a further application for the site.

On the first day of the planning inquiry, the company asked for the "changes captured within the 2021 application" to be considered by the inspector, John Woolcock.

Both applications seek to excavate and restore the site in a phased manner, over 32 years. But the latest proposal does not include the erection and operation of a concrete batching plant.

It stipulates that there would be no pumping from the "lower mineral horizon" and that the distance between extraction in that horizon and the bromate plume is increased from 50m to 100m.

In addition, the access road from the quarry entrance would be moved by five metres to the east, in order to allow for additional acoustic screening.

Public consultation on this second application – as part of the planning process – is still ongoing, and it is not due to be complete until November 20.

But on the opening day of the public inquiry, it emerged that a request had been made to substitute the latest application into the inquiry.

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At the hearing Richard Kimblin, acting for Brett Aggregates, proposed that "changes captured within the 2021 application" be considered by the inspector. Mr Hamblin suggested that this would be highly beneficial to everybody in the inquiry.

David Forsdick QC, acting for the county council, said that this would still be the 2016 application, but amended by reference to the four "matters", bringing it in line with the 2021 application.

Mr Forsdick said that HCC would be content to proceed on the basis of either scheme. But in his opening statement Peter Cook, of Colney Heath Parish Council, spoke against the new application’s inclusion in the inquiry.

He said: “We are disappointed the inquiry permits references to the 2021 application as comments on it close on 20 November.

“This gives Brett two attempts at the 2021 application and deprives the public of the right to fair representation.”

Craig Tallents, chair of the Smallford Residents’ Association, suggested that the inquiry should continue on the basis of the application that had been refused by the county council. He added that to consider the second application at this stage would be “undemocratic”.

The Planning Inspector did not make a decision on this point but said that he would before the end of the inquiry.

The inquiry – which is expected to last for eight days – is ongoing.