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Soil excavation from Harpenden Rothamsted development could benefit park in new proposals

PUBLISHED: 15:17 19 July 2019

Construction work on the Rothamsted Park sport and cultural centres. Picture: SADC

Construction work on the Rothamsted Park sport and cultural centres. Picture: SADC

Archant

Soil excavated during a redevelopment in Harpenden might be repurposed to improve a town park.

Construction work on the Rothamsted Park sport and cultural centres. Picture: SADCConstruction work on the Rothamsted Park sport and cultural centres. Picture: SADC

If proposals are approved, earth displaced during the construction of new sport and cultural centres in Rothamsted Park would be used to contour a football field in the same green.

About 10,000 cubic metres of organic matter and other material was going to be driven to landfill over 1,500 heavy vehicle journeys, but the new plans would enhance the playing surface and strengthen flood defences by improving natural drainage.

An application for the proposal has been submitted to St Albans district council's planning department to be considered later this year.

Portfolio holder for property, commercial and development at SADC, Cllr Robert Donald, said: "The plan to keep soil in the park rather than transport it elsewhere is a major and welcome change to the redevelopment works.

"It will avoid hundreds of lorry journeys to and from the park and prevent the soil from being thrown away into a landfill site.

"By retaining it, we will be reducing emissions, cutting down on traffic and making significant long-term improvements to the park.

"We have said tackling the current climate emergency is a top priority for our administration. These construction changes demonstrate how our goal of making the council carbon neutral by 2030, reducing vehicle emissions and improving local air quality can actually be achieved in practice.

"I urge anyone interested in these issues to look at the proposals in detail online and let their views be known."

Construction has already started on the new £18.8 million leisure and cultural centres in Rothamsted Park, on the site of the existing buildings.

The centres, including an extended swimming pool, a multi-sports centre and a 511-seat theatre, are scheduled to open in early 2021.

Comment on the soil application using planning reference 5/2019/1828 at www.stalbans.gov.uk/planning/Searchforplanningapplications/

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