The New Barnfield centre in South Hatfield should not be listed as a waste site. It is not suitable for waste treatment of any kind. The site and the area around New Barnfield is an area which has housing, work-places, recreational areas, educational facilities, and wild-life. A huge incinerator on this elevated site would have a negative visual impact on: the strip of Green Belt between Hatfield and Welham Green; the landscape; residents’ enjoyment of the countryside and the footpaths and cycle-paths; Southfield School; a number of heritage assets, including Hatfield House and its park; and a very wide area.
The health and well-being of people using this area would be badly affected by the noise and pollution caused by increased traffic to any type of waste site, and also by pollution from an incinerator.
This school is immediately adjoining the site, on the slip-road leading up to the site.
The school is for primary age children with special needs, including autistic children.
The school was purpose-built in 1995.
The government document “A Children’s Environment and Health Strategy for the U.K.” says, page 26, that “air pollution from vehicle exhausts, industry and the products of combustion, has been associated with a range of respiratory effects in children”. It recommends, page 29, “siting of new schools, childcare facilities and play areas should include an assessment of the surrounding air quality”, so Herts CC should not be causing deterioration in the air quality near a school.
Noise pollution would be particularly disturbing to children with special needs.
The school was moved by HCC to a temporary site (with 5 years planning permission) in Sept 2013, leaving the original building empty and wasted.
Millwards Estate and the Far End and “Fields” Residential Areas
The residential area of the Millwards estate is right on the roundabout that leads up to the site.
The residential area of Far End and the “Fields” streets runs along the side of South Way, which would carry all the traffic to the site.
The people in these areas already suffer noise and other pollution from quite heavy traffic, including lorries going to the Tesco depot in the Travellers Lane Employment Area.
To the South of the site there is housing in Welham Green, which would be affected by air pollution and by the view of an incinerator.
The Millwards Recreation Ground and the other Play Areas
The Millwards Recreation Ground, which includes a children’s playground, adjoins the roundabout that leads up to the site.
Other children’s playground areas are sited among the streets in the “Fields” area, next to South Way. The health of children playing would be affected if New Barnfield is used.
On South Way, very close to New Barnfield, is the Hatfield Cemetery.
Increased traffic would be unpleasant for mourners, and the peace and visual attractiveness of this place would be spoiled by having a waste site nearby, probably visible.
The health and enjoyment of people walking on the footpaths which circle the New Barnfield site would be spoiled. There is a recommended Countryside Management Services walk which goes round the site. A Herts County Council leaflet recommending this walk can be found at enquire.hertscc.gov.uk/cms/explore/walk/southhatwelham.htm.
Great North Way Cycle Track
National cycle route 12 runs alongside the site. Increased traffic and/or an incinerator would pollute this route for cyclists.
Hertfordshire University Park and Ride
This car park is on South Way, just past the cemetery. It was built recently in an attempt to alleviate the problem of students’ cars parked on the residential streets of South Hatfield. Increased traffic on South Way will create problems in the use of this Park-and-Ride.
Travellers Lane Employment Area
This area is right next to the site. The same slip-road leads to these work-places and depot and to New Barnfield. People work in the Mitsubishi offices and the Tesco depot here, and in other factories further south along Travellers Lane. Increased traffic would cause major problems, both for traffic movement and for health. The right turn off the slip-road towards Southfield School and New Barnfield is already a very dangerous turn.
The Library Resources Centre and the Park Education Centre
The site is not a “former” central resources library as is claimed on page 47 of the Waste Planning Consultation document. The Hertfordshire Central Resources Library is now on the site. This is a very useful and pleasant facility for the people of the South Hatfield area, as well as for the whole county.
This is the largest lending library in the County, and also has a large reference and business library, and a special performing arts library, where music and plays can be borrowed. Residents can also use the computers here, find quiet reading and working space, and read the collection of newspapers and magazines. There is also an Art Collection here, the Schools Library Service, and the Mobile Library Service, for which the vans park on the site.
On the site there is also the Park Education Centre, which is a unit for secondary school pupils who have had problems in mainstream education.
Parts of the Library Resources Centre were moved to two different parts of Welwyn Garden City in 2013. The Park Educational Centre was moved to Potters Bar. The buildings at New Barnfield were left empty.
Green Belt and Wild Life Sites
The whole area around and including New Barnfield is in the Green Belt, and any building has to be on the footprint of the present buildings (as noted on page 48 of the Waste Planning Consultation document.) It is also part of the Watling Chase Community Forest.
A number of wild-life areas are on or next to the site. These include WS100 Grasslands North of Parsonage Road, WS98 New Barnfield Meadow, and WS101 South Way Southern Road Verge. WS202, Travellers Lane Grasslands, Ponds and Wildlife site, is particularly important. Local people enjoy looking at wild-life here, including trees and birds. Warblers nest here, and there are carp in Travellers Lane pond (known as Bunchleys pond).
Protected Wild-Life – Great Crested Newts
In the ponds on the site, and in the large Travellers Lane Pond which directly adjoins the site (known as Bunchleys Pond), there are great crested newts, which are a European protected species, which it is illegal to disturb. The European species mitigation licensing specialist for Natural England says that “there are stringent criteria to gain a licence to move the animals , one of which is that developers must prove that there is no suitablealternative to what is being proposed. We are very reluctant to encourage movement of newts over any great distance”.
Hatfield House and its Estate (Millwards Park)
The historic park of the estate of Hatfield House is very close to New Barnfield.
In the Environmental Scoping Assessment of the New Barnfield site, made for Herts County Council in Jan 2008, it is written that “with the prevailing south-west winds, emissions from the plant will drift north-eastwards over Hatfield Park and across country towards Hertford.” An incinerator would be visible from parts of Hatfield House and the Old Palace, and from Hatfield Park, because it would be much taller than the existing buildings, which are mainly single-storey.
Other Problems affecting Hatfield
A number of factors have decreased the amenity of Hatfield for its residents. Therefore to spoil a site in Hatfield that is currently quite pleasant and which currently is in use for living, working, recreation and education, and for wild-life, is unacceptable.
1. Hatfield was promised a new town centre to replace the run-down and unattractive centre, but this has not materialised due to the economic recession.
2. Hatfield was promised a new hospital, but this was cancelled, and even the existing facilities at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City are now mostly being taken away, with patients having to travel to Stevenage.
3. Due to the presence of the University of Hertfordshire, many of the houses, particularly in South Hatfield, are let out to students by private landlords. This has led to many of the gardens being neglected and full of rubbish, and to the house-fronts being in poor repair, creating eyesores.