Hitchin scrapyard appeal upheld

A council’s attempt to restrict the operations of a scrap yard that residents say has made their lives a misery has been quashed on appeal.

The H Williams Metal Waste Recycling Centre in Hitchin has won its appeal against a Herts County Council enforcement notice that would have removed buildings and restricted HGVs going to the Cadwell Lane site.

Residents had complained that an increase in scrap lorries as well as noise and dust from the site is affecting the quality of life in surrounding streets.

But an independent planning inspector dismissed the argument brought by the council that the intensification in waste treatment indicated a “material change of use”.

John Rice, director of Metal and Waste Recycling which owns the site, said: “We are very pleased with the outcome. It is entirely consistent with the advice we have had throughout. So not unexpected. We will continue to run the business and we will try to be as considerate as possible to local residents. We will obviously be mindful of the fact that they felt issues needed to be heard.”

But Lisa Courts, campaigner and Lib Dem councillor for Bearton ward, which includes the area affected, said: “We feel like we have been betrayed. The residents feel their lives are going to get worse. We will continue to get no sleep because of the early morning movements. We don’t know where we can go from here. It’s devastated us really.”

Andy Godman, head of housing and public protection at North Herts District Council (NHDC), which had worked alongside HCC on the case, said the authority is also disappointed with the outcome.

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“NHDC will do everything it can to encourage the Environment Agency, the primary regulator of the site, and Metal and Waste Recycling to work together to tackle environmental issues in the community such as noise and dust. This is a move towards ensuring that operations are managed appropriately in the future,” he said.

A spokesman at County Hall said officers were considering their options.

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