Herts county council to discuss Lafarge gravel quarry lorry increase in Colney Heath

Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire County Council - Credit: Archant

Warnings that local roads and motorists will suffer if a scheme for the near doubling of trucks to a rural quarry is allowed are likely to be ignored as approval looks set to be granted today.

Lafarge Tarmac wants to increase the number of lorry trips to its sand and gravel quarry in Tyttenhanger, south of Coursers Road in Colney Heath.

And today, Herts county council’s development control committee will decide whether it should accept officers’ recommendation to grant approval for a variation to a condition.

Currently permitted to have 210 vehicle movements on each weekday, Lafarge wants an additional 170 trips a day from Monday to Friday – a total of 380 daily.

The building material firm also wants to carry out an extra 54 lorry trips on a Saturday, up from 106 at present, on a permanent basis.

That is so its restoration operations remain on schedule.

Planning permissions were granted eight years ago for the extraction area to be extended at Tyttenhanger – the expanded area measures about 84 hectares, allowing about 7.1 million tonnes of sand and gravel to be extracted in total.

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A report to the committee suggested that approval be given subject to the signing of a Section 106 legal agreement, to secure funding of £40,460 for highway improvements.

This would include resurfacing the carriageway from the Bell roundabout - a major junction - to the quarry entrance.

The report said local residents had raised concerns about the roundabout deteriorating as a result of additional lorries in the area.

Colney Heath parish council said Coursers Road was too narrow for the increase in traffic, and allowing hundreds more lorry trips would pose a danger to cyclists and pedestrians.

The report included comments from highways officers, who referred to the impact of the controversial strategic rail freight interchange at Park Street, and other proposed developments close to the Bell roundabout, including expansion of the Colney Fields shopping centre.

Officers said while other reports had warned parts of the roundabout was over-capacity at peak times, “this is not supported by modelling and traffic survey work presented in this application”.

With regard to highway safety, the report said that accidents, particularly slow speed rear end shunts between the quarry and the roundabout, were mostly down to motorists’ “inattention”.

St Albans district councillor for Colney Heath Chris Brazier said he was concerned about the impact of the increased trips in light of other major developments proposed nearby.