Smallford villagers fear impact of a massive quarry on the outskirts of the St Albans district

Land off St Albans Road West which is the site of the proposed quarry

Land off St Albans Road West which is the site of the proposed quarry - Credit: Archant

Proposals for a huge quarry on the doorstep of the St Albans district have horrified local residents.

They fear that the new quarry proposed for Hatfield Aerodrome - which will be worked for 32 years - will have a huge impact on Smallford and a knock-on effect on St Albans as a whole.

The proposal from Brett Aggregates for the 87-hectare site comprises the western part of the former aerodrome which is currently open space, much used by dog walkers.

The site is bounded by the Hatfield Road/St Albans Road to the south, Oaklands Lane to the west, Coopers Green Lane to the north and Hatfield to the east.

Should the scheme get planning permission, a new access road would be created on to the Hatfield Road which residents fear will not only exacerbate congestion, particularly at peak periods, but also push far more heavy lorries on to local roads.

Many residents only heard about the quarry plan around a week ago when they received a flyer about an exhibition of the proposals which was due to be held on Wednesday at St Albans Rugby Club.

A member of the Smallford Residents Association described the proposal as “the greatest and scariest planning application not just for Smallford but for St Albans and nearby Hatfield” and comparable to the rejected Hatfield incinerator scheme in terms of implications.

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He warned that it would kill the Green Belt in the area as well as cause traffic gridlock all around the site and added: “The noise, dust, pollution and lighting effects are also going to damage this area.”

Neighbour Helen Askew said she had at first thought the flyer about the exhibition was junk mail and it was only when she looked at it properly that she realised what it was.

She pointed out that there was already quarrying in the area and added: “Living here, we are constantly under attack. We chose to live here because it’s rural and peaceful but this is horrendous.”

Colney Heath parish and district councillor Chris Brazier said that the prospect of quarrying on that land had arisen before as part of the county council’s consultation on its Minerals Plan.

He went on: “We opposed it then because there was supposed to be a community park built there which has never happened.”

He had only heard about the current proposal around a month ago when he ‘stumbled upon it’ and he pointed out that more mineral extraction was bound to upset local residents because there was already quarrying in Coursers Road.

Cllr Brazier added: “It’s a huge scheme and will have terrible implications for residents not only in Smallford but Sleapshyde and Hatfield as well.”

Brett Aggregates propose to extract sand and gravel and process it to produce a range of graded aggregates as well as manufacture ready mixed concrete. The site would be progressively restored so that eventually it would have open access again and a range of habitats would be created.