MPs call for Secretary of State to step in over Hitchin-Codicote B656 concrete plant plans

PUBLISHED: 13:57 13 February 2019

Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami (left), Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, and the proposed site for the concrete plant (centre). Picture: Archant and Google Maps

Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami (left), Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, and the proposed site for the concrete plant (centre). Picture: Archant and Google Maps

Archant

MPs have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, calling for him to step in regarding plans for a concrete plant off the B656 between Hitchin and Codicote.

Both Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland have written to fellow MP James Brokenshire, asking him to call in the application from Breedon Southern Ltd to build on an existing salvage yard at Rush Green.

Calling in the application would mean taking the power to approve the plan out of North Herts District Council’s hands, whose planning committee voted to approve it last month.

In their letter to Mr Brokenshire, Mr Afolami and Mr McPartland wrote: “Across the constituencies of Hitchin & Harpenden and Stevenage, constituents have expressed deep concerns about the impact the proposed application will have on the local environment, infrastructure and green belt.

“This development does not serve the interest of the communities and we fully support the concerns among residents, parish councils and local councillors.”

The proposed number of lorries travelling to and from the site has caused concern, with the transport assessment attached to Breedon’s planning application stating that there would be an average of four or five HGV movements along the road per hour.

“Its position on London Road (B656) creates significant challenges and danger to the area,” wrote Mr Afolami and Mr McParltand.

“The B656 already faces significant traffic congestion during rush hour – stretching from the Three Moorhens roundabout in Hitchin to the village of Codicote.

“An increase of 54 HGVs per working day on this road will cause significant disruption to an already congested route.

“Throughout its proposed route from Hitchin to Codicote lie many pedestrian crossings, and cyclists throughout the week use this road as well as horse riders.

“HGVs travelling up and down this road will now pose a danger to all.”

The MPs also raised concerns about the proposed site being within the Green Belt, and pollution caused by the HGV traffic.

The application for the concrete batching plant is currently awaiting a decision.

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