Public Meeting: a report

On Friday 14th October 2022, a Public Meeting was held at St Andrew’s Church, Stanstead Abbotts to discuss the proposed quarry at the Briggens Estate. Julia Davies, Councillor of Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council and The Three Villages Magazine committee member, attended the meeting and shares this report…

Report of the Public Meeting
The meeting was opened by Mike Dormon, Chairman of Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council, who introduced Julie Marson MP.  In her speech to the audience of more than 200 local residents, including members of Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council and St Margarets Parish Council, Julie Marson MP made it completely clear that she supports opponents of the quarry at the Briggens Estate. 

Julie Marson will ask questions and invite a minister to speak at the despatch box in Parliament to deplore this quarry proposal, which has many holes in it.  The extension to Harlow is quite enough development for this area.  She will at least slow it down and use every tool at her disposal to stop it.

Miles Dymock then spoke explaining that he lives in the centre of farmland owned by City and Provincial who are leasing the land to Tarmac (who will carry out the quarrying).  He urged members of the audience to respond to the consultation using a letter, an email or the online response form and not to be put off by the difficulty of reading the lengthy report that is the basis for the consultation.  Just writing in to say you are against the Hertfordshire County Council Waste and Mineral Plan, and giving your name and address would help.  Miles had a list of his objections, which were distributed.  One of the key points he has made relates to the heritage of the site – he has collected boxes full of Roman relics, which he has put forward as evidence of this area having significant archaeological remains. 

Miles spoke about the 80 HGVs that would be going in and out of the site on a daily basis, and that keeping them out of the village would be difficult.  Mike Dormon explained that the plan had not taken into account the removal of the Eastwick roundabout, which will be replaced with traffic lights.  Vehicles will therefore be looking for an alternative turning point in order to travel west to the rest of the east of Hertfordshire for which the sand and gravel is intended.

The sand and gravel will not be extracted in time for use in the first stages of building at Gilston, so suggesting it can simply be transported there by conveyor belt isn’t going to happen.

There were many concerns expressed by the audience: houses shake when lorries go past; St Albans Sand and Gravel had also extracted for years and the village had done its bit; we don’t need another lake; what about protected species – orchids and wildlife?; could we get funding to fight the cause from the National Farmers’ Union or BBC’s Country File?; this is the only open land in a line north from London to Harlow – it is a vital gap to preserve the separation; people choose to live here because it is agricultural; and that Tudor deer parks are at risk.  Another concern is that there is insufficient water and Tarmac would need huge amounts. There were suggestions that people should use their votes to remove councillors who want the quarry and that there could be demonstrations of opposition at Hertfordshire County Council and Tarmac’s AGM.

There were pleas at the end for funds to be donated to the Stop the Quarry website and for expertise – particularly for a hydro-geologist.  You can make a donation by visiting the Go Fund Me Page.

The main message from Julie Marson was that she will welcome individual concerns and that everyone should respond.

Next steps would be keep: to up the pressure by following online, attending any relevant HCC meetings with placards, donate to the Stop the Quarry fund and keep writing to Julie Marson to urge her on in Parliament.  

Julia Davies

You can complete a Draft Plan Response Form online or a printable version of the form can be opened in Word by clicking HERE.

Alternatively, contact the Minerals and Waste Planning Policy Team directly:
01992 556227 (office hours are 9am – 5pm)

Minerals and Waste Planning Policy Team
Spatial Planning Unit (CHN216)
Hertfordshire County Council
County Hall
Pegs Lane
SG13 8DN

The Stop the Quarry group has been set up to keep the public informed and encourage residents to actively oppose this plan. You can follow them online…

The website also have detailed information about how to complete the online form.

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