Councillor disappointed after Hitchin-Codicote B656 concrete plant approved

After a visitor to the area cleaned up one road sign because it was so grimy, plenty of other exampl

After a visitor to the area cleaned up one road sign because it was so grimy, plenty of other examples have been put forward that need similar treatment. This one is on the B656 between Hitchin and Codicote at the Whitwell turn - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin councillor has expressed concerns after North Herts District Council’s planning committee voted to approve plans for a concrete plant off the B656 between Hitchin and Codicote.

A planning application from Breedon Southern Ltd to build on an existing salvage yard at Rush Green were discussed at the meeting on Wednesday.

According to the transport assessment attached to Breedon’s planning application, there would be an average of four or five HGV movements along the road per hour.

Following its approval, Hitchin Highbury ward councillor Sam Collins expressed his disappointment, saying: “I have been contacted by many residents from St Ippolyts, Gosmore and of course Hitchin – all with concerns about this planning application.

“If the Secretary of State approves this application then there will be 14,000 extra HGV movements on the B656 per year, many of them feeding into the already terribly congested Three Moorhens roundabout.

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“This area already has illegally poor air quality and this will only make it a whole lot worse.

“There are also worries about safety, at the St Ippolyts crossing and again at the Three Moorhens.”

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In Breedon’s transport assessment, prepared by consultant Jeremy Hurlstone as part of the application, it notes that the site is within cycling distance of Stevenage railway station, Hitchin and Codicote – and that “the B656 London Road appeared to be a popular cycling route, based on its observed usage by cyclists”.

All 190 comments on the application on NHDC’s website objected to it being approved.

The Rush Green concrete plant would replace their old ready-mixed concrete plant at Langley Sidings in Stevenage – which closed in 2016.

Councillor Collins is hoping to raise issues regarding the application to the Secretary of State.

“I am bitterly disappointed that the planning committee approved this, especially considering that ward councillors from Hitchin Highbury, Hitchin Priory and Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo all objected strongly.

“I hope to be able to make a representation to the Secretary of State on this issue.”

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