Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC) Meeting 14th November 2019.
I am really pleased about the response we got at the WHBC Planning meeting last night, this followed on from the same success we had at St Albans District Council (SADC) planning meeting last week, where we attended and supported Smallford RA.
These meetings were for the councils to consider their recommendations to Herts County Council (HCC) planning department re the Ellenbrook fields/Aerodrome quarry application.
The planning officer at WHBC had made some, in my opinion 'woolly' responses, re the quarry application itself and had recommended that WHBC should agree to having the Sec 106 legal agreement to set up the Country Park and Trust be uncoupled from the current minerals application for the quarry.
Along with EARA committee members and Smallford RA members we had a number of local residents who turned up to support us and our thanks go out to them. This really made a difference and showed the WHBC planning councillors the strength of feeling against this quarry, we filled most of the public seats in the chamber.
We will, when we know the date of the actual decision hearing at Herts county council, ask the residents in Ellenbrook, Smallford and Salisbury village to come along in even greater numbers to show support for our campaign against this quarry.
Brett Aggregates the applicant to do the quarrying spoke first, it felt quite weakly and not at all persuasive.
We had the first objector spot and gave a heartful plea with I beg to suggest some really good and tenable arguments against this quarry with a plea to have a recommendation from WHBC to HCC planning, to have an independent investigation into the impact the quarry may have on the Bromate/Bromide pollution. Arguing that the Sec 106 must remain connected to the application and that the country park and trust should be set up immediately and before any discussion re the fate of the site takes place.
We then had 5 local councillors also speak against the recommendations of the planning officers, from all three main parties, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservative. No party politics came into the evenings meeting, which was good, thing, they have listened to us at last that this is about our future, our community and environment.
Anyway, result of the meeting is the WHBC recommendation to HCC planning (the decision makers) will be
to keep the Sec 106 linked to this application,
to recommend an independent investigation into the impact of the quarry on the Bromate/Bromide pollution.
They also asked that HCC be informed that the WHBC have serious concerns regarding this quarry application.
(When this is sent to HCC, we will get a copy and post on the EARA website)
This is as strong as they can really go, don't think we could have asked for more. The WHBC planning committee were unanimous on these recommendations, no dissenters at all. This closely resembles the result at SADC last week, if anything WHBC have gone a bit further.
Great night last night, great teamwork and lobbying of politicians etc to get us to this point and I must thank Sue M and Mike for their help and support getting my speech done, and my Sue for putting up with being a 'Quarry Widow'.
We may have won the skirmish last night, but we still need to keep on top of this as we haven't won the battle yet. We are making people sit up and focus on this, it is not going to be swept under the carpet or pushed through on a nod and a wink.
The councillors and politicians who instead of just saying it's not a good thing, are now proactively supporting us.
The co-operation between Smallford RA and us at EARA is at a real high, we are all singing from the same hymn sheet and working closely together on each other’s activities. We do all have the same goals and ideas on strategy to achieve them, Thanks SRA. We are also starting to work together with the new Salisbury Village Residents Association and the co-operation here looks promising for the future joint working.
Quite a lot of media coverage has resulted, from both our activity and that of Councillor Margaret Eames-Peterson, I believe a two-page spread in this week’s Welwyn Hatfield times is the latest.
On Behalf of EARA Committee