Flood-risk fears over Great Chesterford dumping ground

DUMPING of waste material on land between Great Chesterford and Ickleton is creating an eyesore and a flood risk, a parish councillor has warned.

A demolition and excavation company has been piling waste material onto a triangular piece of land next to the M11 in Great Chesterford and about one third of the 30-acre site has already been developed.

Chairman of Ickleton Parish Council, Terry Sadler, said: “We are very concerned about this because it poses a serious flood risk to the village and it dramatically changes the landscape.

“Having this amount of soil on the site is creating a different profile to the land and putting far more pressure on the flood plain.”

The parish council became aware of the activities of the construction company SEEARO in February 2008, but Mr Sadler said things really came to a head when Essex County Council (ECC) served them with an enforcement order earlier this year.

SEEARO has now submitted a retrospective planning application to the council to seek approval for the work which has already been done and to allow them to continue raising the profile of the land. The development would see the ground level across the whole site raised by three metres.

Although the planning application states that the purpose for putting the waste on the land is to develop it for agricultural improvement, Mr Sadler believes things have gone too far.

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He said: “I understand that Uttlesford District Council had agreed that the land could be improved by adding top soil, but our position is that this shouldn’t require more than one metre.

“Looking at this from the Ickleton side it ruins the view and is just a wall of soil which looks artificial. It is vastly higher than the surrounding area and the council should be asking if this is a suitable development in the countryside?”

A spokesman for ECC said: “The council has received a planning application from SEEARO Group seeking retrospective planning permission for the importation and treatment of 250,000 cubic metres of waste materials.

“As part of the application process the county council has consulted the Environment Agency in relation to the proposals and are awaiting their comments. All comments received in relation to the application will be taken into account when considering the proposal.”

People who wish their views to be considered by the council need to send their comments to ECC Minerals and Waste Planning, Environmental Planning, County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QH, by July 16.