Anger over major development in heart of countryside

Mud in Coursers Road, Colney Heath.

Mud in Coursers Road, Colney Heath. - Credit: CHPC

Tonnes of soil and hardcore have been dumped in an ancient woodland as part of a major countryside development - covering a major road in mud.

The ongoing situation is taking place at the site of Fredericks Wood, off Coursers Road near Colney Heath, which was recently sold to a new owner who plans to build a series of earth bunds surrounding the site.

The land will then apparently be developed for shooting activities, an activity centre and quad biking course and a community centre.

But work has already begun on constructing the first bund, despite planning permission having yet to be granted.

Colney Heath Parish Council clerk Lisa Chaplin said: "There is currently no planning application except a small permitted development to be granted retrospectively for an earth bund for health and safety reasons. Neither the parish council or any other resident or neighbour have been consulted.

"No one is taking responsibility and meanwhile the owner continues to dump soil and hardcore at a terrifying rate, destroying an ancient woodland and making the road dangerous for all users with no oversight.

"I have spent hours reporting this to any agency or government department who will listen but no one will step in on behalf of local residents and take responsibility."

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Cllr Chris Brazier said he will object to any planning application for the earth bund when it goes before the district council (SADC), claiming the lorries entering the site have no license for dumping the soil and hardcore.

"The earth is now over 30ft high, and because it is close to the River Colne it is now slipping into the river and polluting it."

County Cllr John Hale has also objected to the scheme: “I am angry about the work being done in Fredericks Wood, the resultant debris on the road is a hazard and has damaged vehicles. There has been a lack of information about what is being proposed and the organisations involved. This has all resulted in residents rightly feeling put upon and ignored.

"I will continue to work with residents, the parish council, Cllr Brazier and Daisy Cooper MP to get more information about what is happening and for a cessation of the current works.”

A representative of the owner has been contacted for comment, but has yet to respond.

Comment on the planning application at https://planningapplications.stalbans.gov.uk/planning using the reference 5/2021/3471.