Planning Application FMW/072/19 – Updated Guidance for Responses

It is vital that as many as possible respond to this latest application by MGL as we have no doubt that this is an attempt to obtain permission in order to hugely expand activities in future.  

Unfortunately current Covid-19 regulations have made it impossible for us to organise public meetings. 

We therefore have summarised the history and a number of key points for everyone to consider in preparing individual responses. 

The Current Situation at New Farm (refer to by us as 'The Astro Turf Site)

In 1998 the current owner (then the owner of Hemingford Golf Course) applied to Cambridge County Council ('CCC') for permission to recycle Astro Turft at the site 'as an ancillary function of an established golf course building and maintenance business'. Traffic would be 85 Twenty Ton Lorries per annum - ie 1700 tons per annum.

Despite oppostion from Parish Councils, Huntingdonshire District Council and all consulted statutory bodies permission was granted in 2000 subject to a raft of conditions including the construction of a building in which the process of shaking out the silica sand and any soil in the Astro Turf could take place.

The actual activity has been almost minimal and the site has been poorly operated and is a mess. After repeated complaints from HAPC  Enviroment Agency in 2018 asked for the site to be cleared - a process which is less than 20% complete.

As you know the Golf Club was sold to Mick George Limited ('MGL') in April 2016 - MGL do not own the Astro Turf Site and did not take up an option to purchase it earlier this year.

MGL Planning Application FMW/072/19 and additional information provided by MGL

It is not necessary to own land in order to apply for commercial planning permission (as distinct from private residential where only the owner can apply).

This application is to enable 48,000 tons of Waste Soil to be processed (i.e any non soil content to be separated) per annum, using heavy plant extending well above the current height limit and creating vibration which will ruin the high end technical business carried out by Circuit Solutions who own the adjoining property they occupy. Note that what comes in will have to go out which means the transportation of 96,000 tons per annum!!

Current Planning procedures allow applicants to seek Enviromental Permits at the same time and these are granted subject to Planning Permission being granted. In this case the permit refers to 75,000 tons and New Farm as Hemingfords Recycling Centre!

Suggested key points

  • There will be 50 HGV movements per day (at least one every twelve minutes) in and out of a junction and on to Rideaway at a position where traffic travelling at the permitted speed limit has insufficient visability to avoid slow moving HGV vehicles safely at all times.This is bad enough in daylight but during the late autumn and winter many movements will in the dark on unlit roads.
  • There are sufficient operational sites in existence within 11 km of the site and no evidence that they cannot cope with requirements.
  • The volume changes are huge and are outside the scope of what is permitted under Section 73.
  • Traffic measurement was conducted at a time when traffic volumes were substantially reduced by recommendations and regulations introduced by the Government.
  • The Hemingford Villages include a large number of important listed buildings and attract large numbers of tourists and visitors (including those staying at Caravan sites one of which is 400m from the location) which would detract from their appeal.
  • Dust and any damaging particles within the pre sorted soil would be carried towards both Hemingfords and particularly toward Hemingford Pavilions and Hemingford Grey School by the prevailing wind which is from the South West.
  • Jobs at Circuit Solutions are at risk as the business requires a dust and vibration free environment in which to operate

We shall of course be writing in great detail and have employed a specialist transport consultant to comment on the revised transport statement as well as our lawyers to raise yet again points to which CCC have not responded -  but the more people who respond the better. Please do not under estimate the effect on both Hemingfords - particularly the effect of the prevailing wind on Hemingford Grey. THE DEADLINE FOR RESPONSES IS NEXT FRIDAY JULY 24th and you can respond on CCC website  and typing in the Application Reference FMW/072/19 - alternatively the Application Reference

We believe that this is a potential first step to the whole site becoming a Waste Recycling Centre and for that reason must be opposed.

This information has been e-mailed to all supporters and to PC Chairs and Vice Chairs and our District and County Councillors. All our Ambassadors also have this information and the background documents.

Iain Muspratt

Chair on behalf of the Hemingford Action Group Board

18th July 2020