A DECISIVE POINT?
Discussion of Ellenbrook Fields becoming a quarry – with the possibility of a final decision – is on the Agenda of The Development Control Committee of Hertfordshire County Council at its meeting on Thursday 24th September 2020. We have been allocated four slots for presenting our objections, all of which have been taken up, and three County Councillors will be making their objections.
The fight to retain Ellenbrook Fields as open space and establish a Country Park goes back to the year 2000 when the landowner, Arlington, got permission to build the Tech Park at the eastern end of the old Hatfield/DeHavilland Aerodrome.
As part of that deal, Arlington committed to pay £1m into a fund to establish the Country Park but, as of today, this money has never been handed over. Part of the responsibility lies with the three unitary authorities – Hertfordshire County Council, St Albans District Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council – who have not been able to agree a plan to carry this matter forward – so the matter has festered for the past 20 years!
The quarry proposal has been on the table for approximately five years and has been the subject of sustained local opposition in spite of the site being in the Government’s mineral extraction plan.
Amongst a number of objections, are two major, serious factors –
- ground contamination from Bromate, a known carcinogen
- danger of flooding on to Ellenbrook houses to the south of the A1057
The ground contamination arises from an old chemical works which operated in Sandridge back in the 1980’s and the Bromate plume extends over the top north-east corner of the old aerodrome. The aerodrome is also the source of our drinking water supplies – there are bore holes all over the site – and the bore hole at Bishop’s Rise has already had to be cut off from the drinking water supply owing to the contamination. We are fearful that any disturbance of the ground will spread the Bromate contamination and affect the remaining bore holes With increasing demand for drinking water we are concerned our future supplies will be constantly under threat.
With regard to the flooding, the ground slopes north/south so any significant rainfall accumulates at the southern end of the aerodrome and is a threat to Ellenbrook houses.
As well as these serious concerns, there are others – including loss of open space amenity, traffic congestion (with several hundred daily lorry movements predicted on a single-lane, already busy road) and pollution from noise and particulates.
Hugh Burrell: Honorary Treasurer, Smallford Residents’ Association