Success for Hitchin campaigners in bid to stop plans for waste plant

A planning application to build a recycling plant in Bury Mead Road in Hitchin has been unanimously

A planning application to build a recycling plant in Bury Mead Road in Hitchin has been unanimously rejected. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a recycling plant in Hitchin’s Bury Mead Road have been thrown out by Hertfordshire County Council’s planning department, having been dismissed as “completely unworkable” at a meeting on Thursday last week.

The development control committee voted unanimously to refuse planning permission for the plant, which residents feared would cause an increase in pollution from lorries.

Resident Graham Tibbetts, whose online petition opposing the plant was signed by almost 300 people, said neighbours were relieved that their views had been backed by the county council.

"This case caused a great deal of worry to the many people living within 100 metres of Bury Mead Road, not to mention the families of children attending the nearby schools and nurseries," he said.

"Everyone I've spoken to is just so glad that the plans have been turned down - hopefully for good."

John Overeem, who also campaigned against the plant and whose home would be one of the closest to it, said: "This is fantastic news. Fighting this development has really united us all."

The planning application by Welwyn Services, a demolition company, sought to build and operate a waste recycling centre that would turn up to 75,000 tonnes of building waste a year into hardcore. The waste would be brought in skip lorries.

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Forty objections were received by the council from people claiming that the open-fronted building would spread noise, dust and smells to nearby homes and businesses. They also said Bury Mead Road and Grove Road were already too congested and could not cope with the extra lorries.

One of the schools affected, Strathmore Infant and Nursery School, wrote a letter of objection which was co-signed by the heads of Wilshere-Dacre, Our Lady and The Priory schools.

The Environment Agency said there were potential health and safety concerns and the Highway Authority recommended planning permission be refused on the grounds that no information was given on the number of lorry journeys or their impact on the highway.

In his report to the committee, the council's principal planning officer Rob Egan wrote: "Due to the potential for dust and noise emissions, the proposed operation is likely to have an adverse impact upon amenity and human health."

The committee also heard from Hitchin North county councillor Judi Billing, who urged them to reject the plans for good.

North Herts district councillor for Hitchin Bearton, Ian Albert, also supported the rejection, and said: "I am absolutely delighted that thanks to them campaigning work of residents and Beaton ward councillors, the Bury Mead waste site was unanimously rejected by the Herts County Council Development Control Committee."

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