The company that proposed to quarry the site of the former Hatfield Aerodrome say they are ‘disappointed’ after their bid was dismissed by the Planning Inspector.

Brett Aggregates had wanted to extract up to eight million tonnes of sand and gravel from the site – which sits between Smallford and Ellenbrook – over a 32-year period.

After their application for planning permission was refused by Hertfordshire County Council, the company appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

On Tuesday (January 25) – following a nine-day public inquiry in November – Planning Inspector John Woolcock dismissed the appeal.

Brett Aggregates had already submitted a further application for the site before the start of the inquiry.

But they say they are ‘disappointed’ by the findings of the Planning Inspector, which they are still considering.

“We are disappointed about the outcome of our appeal and we are working to understand fully the reasons why it has been dismissed before considering our options,” said Brett in a statement.

Brett does not specify what their ‘options’ may be. But decisions by the Planning Inspector can be challenged in the High Court, so long as an appeal is lodged within six weeks.

Brett’s application had included new access onto the A1057, an aggregate processing plant, a concrete batching plant and other ‘supporting facilities’.

In his decision notice, Planning Inspector Mr Woolcock recognised the ‘important contribution’ the quarry would make to meeting the county’s need for aggregates, such as sand and gravel.

But in dismissing the appeal, he said the harm to the Green Belt, along with harm to the character, appearance and amenity of the area and to pedestrian safety, outweighed the benefits of the minerals that would be extracted.

He said it has not been demonstrated that the development could be made acceptable through the use of conditions or planning obligations.

Meanwhile, officials at Herts county council (HCC) say they will take the Inspector’s findings into account when considering the further application to the site.

“We are pleased to have received the Inspector's decision and the clarification it provides,” said a spokesperson for the county council.

“We are currently considering a further application for planning permission for the site, and we will be taking the issues raised in the inspector’s letter into account when determining this application.”

The latest application to quarry on the site was submitted by Brett in September (2021) – just weeks before the start of the Inquiry.

This newer proposal does not include the erection and operation of a concrete batching plant.

It stipulates that there would be no pumping from the ‘lower mineral horizon’ and that the distance between extraction in that horizon and the bromate plume is increased, from 50m to 100m.

The access road from the quarry entrance would be moved by five metres to the east, in order to allow for additional acoustic screening.

No date has yet been set for the determination of the application by the county council’s development control committee. But it is expected to be in the spring.