The poisonous waste is believed to have been buried at the site where over 600 homes are hoped to be built.
Liddington Hall Farm has been put forward as part of Guildford Borough Council’s draft local plan as a suitable location for 625 homes.
But Worplesdon Parish Council maintains the land is unsafe because of around 100 deposits of cyanide buried beneath the surface.
An ex-employee of Martin Harper Engineering Works came forward in 1982 to share information about the firm, claiming they used to dig up areas of the land around the factory and bury cyanide, the waste product made through case hardening, which took place at the site.
This practice allegedly went on about once a month between 1943 and 1947, in unmarked locations, resulting in as many as 100 deposits, with the depth and precise locations unknown.
New homes were built on the site where the company’s offices had stood in 2006, as none of the poison could have been deposited on that part of the site.
In 1983 a report by Norman Payne, Guildford council’s then head of personal services, confirmed there were signs of the poison beneath the ground but the area was declared safe as long as it was undisturbed.
Cyanide usually degrades over time, but Professor Jim Bridges, toxicology expert at the University of Surrey said: “If cyanide is combined with certain metals, as it is in case hardening, and if it is buried in soil, it can be longer lasting.”
This is not the first time this site has been proposed in a planning initiative.
Gaynor White, Worplesdon’s parish clerk said it is "exceedingly frustrating" that the same areas continue to come up over and over again.
She has already passed her concerns on to MP Anne Milton and the parish council is planning a formal response to the draft local plan as it undergoes the consultation process.
In 2008 Guildford Borough Council addressed concerns over cyanide, and claimed that the concentration in the soil was below Environmental Quality Standards and as such would not be a great risk.
But a spokesman for the council acknowledged the continued concerns about the Liddington Hall Farm site and its relation to cyanide.
She said: “As with any development on land that has previously had industrial use, a full investigation and any necessary remediation work must be carried out and before development.
“In 1982, an investigation was carried out on behalf of the council on the land bordering the works, which concluded that there was little evidence of high levels of contamination that would be detrimental to public health at that time.
“Based on this information this would still require a similar condition to the factory site. Any contamination found would need to be treated or removed.”
The proposed site also backs on the Thames Basin Heath, a special protection area (SPA) owing to the ‘mosaic of habitats’ in the area.
In February this year, the High Court ruled in favour of Weald District Council against landowners attempting to build on an SPA as these areas are also protected by European Law.
The council acknowledged this land is within the greenbelt in November 2013 but said there may not be enough brown field and urban land to meet the housing needs.
Original article from GetSurrey