D-Day set for Hitchin metal site High Court appeal

A CONTROVERSIAL Hitchin waste recycling plant which has “destroyed the lives” of residents, businesses and commuters could have restrictions imposed on it, after a date was set for a High Court appeal.

Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd, which was formerly known as H Williams and Sons, has faced opposition from residents and businesses as well as two councils, because of the hundreds of HGV movements a day to and from the site.

A hearing date at the Royal Courts of Justice, in which the original case will be re-heard, has now been set for January 31 of next year after Herts County Council (HCC) lodged the appeal, with the support of North Herts District Council (NHDC).

The appeal will decide whether the planning inspectorate’s decision to impose no restrictions on the company, as a result of an original appeal to do so by the county council, should be overturned. The appeal related to HGV movements to and from the site.

Hitchin NHDC councillor Lisa Courts, who lives near the Wallace Way site, has campaigned against the lack of restrictions on the site.

She said: “We need to get across that it is no longer just a scrap yard - it is a full-on waste plant.

“It’s in an industrial area which is not set up to take this type of business. The roads can’t take it.

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“We’ve got vehicles coming down early in the morning, at 11.30am at night. It’s putting residents who are being subjected to it under great stress.

“They are destroying a town without trying to be good neighbours. People can’t tolerate much more. There are people who have moved, parents say they are petrified - they’ve got children trying to cross the road.

“The more people that go [to the hearing] the better, to show our support.”

A county council spokesman declined to comment on the application, but said that it would once the hearing was over.

He did confirm, however, that the council was aware of the appeal date, having lodged it originally.

Cllr Bernard Lovewell, NHDC portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said: “We are pleased that a date has now been set for the High Court to review the decision of the planning inspectorate.

“Our primary concern has always been the wellbeing of people who live and work near the site, and we continue to support the appeal lodged by Herts County Council.”

If the appeal is won, the waste recycling centre may, in the future, have to reduce the number of lorries it operates on a daily basis, and may have to remove its fragmenter and apply for planning permission to reinstall it.

John Rice, of Metal and Waste Recycling, said: “There has been a scrap metal site there for decades, and we do out best to work in a way which will have minimum impact on residents.

“It’s on an industrial estate, and we’re not the only people there.

“It’s actually action against the secretary of state that is being taken, not what we are doing on the site.

“Historically, this sort of argument is normally lost many more times than it is won.”

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