Disused landfill site could be renovated

A DISUSED landfill and quarry site near Hitchin could be renovated as a wildlife landscape area, eight years after planning permission was originally granted.

Proposals for the Vicars Grove Pit site in Little Almshoe, just south of Hitchin, would see a restoration of the site to create agricultural pastureland where horses and ponies could graze whilst protecting the woodlands which bound the site, if planning permission is given.

There could also be the planting of trees and shrubs and the introduction of bird and bat boxes along the edge of the woodland.

In order to complete the work, the waste which currently occupies the site would have to be excavated, screened and crushed, before being stored temporarily for disposal.

This would see a limited amount of heavy goods vehicles leaving and arriving at the site. The application proposes that this could be up to 20 a day.

“We’re not sure what is happening with the whole thing, so it’s difficult to comment too much,” said John Healey, who sits on the Preston Parish Council that have objected to the proposal on several grounds.

“We’re trying to find out more about it. A few years ago, we had lots of deliveries coming and going to the site.

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“Although the site isn’t in our parish, it would affect people from here who are travelling through to work or to the station.

“I would imagine that the lorries going along country roads would be what concerns people the most.”

Planning permission was originally granted for the site in November 2002, but the phased restoration plan was not complied with, meaning it fell behind schedule.

The latest application has not been objected to by North Herts District Council (NHDC), The Environment Agency or Hertfordshire Highways, although there have been conditions cited.

These include a restriction on the HGVs arriving at and leaving the site, a surface water drainage scheme established and a realistic timescale.

The application will be heard at a Hertfordshire County Council Development control committee on Tuesday.