Hitchin scrap plant High Court appeal in sight

A HIGH Court appeal which could determine whether a waste recycling plant should have restrictions imposed on it will be heard next Tuesday.

Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd in Wallace Way, Hitchin, has been the subject of opposition from residents, businesses, and both Herts County Council (HCC) and North Herts District Council (NHDC). The dispute relates to the hundreds of daily HGV movements to the site, as well as noise and environmental worries.

The Royal Courts of Justice will re-hear the original case, in which a planning inspectorate decided that no restrictions needed to be imposed on the company. If the appeal is successful, those restrictions could be imposed.

The appeal, which was officially lodged by the county council, is expected to attract a dozen Cadwell Lane residents, as well as district councillor for the area, Lisa Courts.

“We are hoping we get a reduction in the vehicle numbers. It all boils down to the fact that the roads just aren’t equipped,” said Cllr Courts.

“It’s certainly not what any of us wanted when we lived here, and it’s destroying the area. It’s had a massive effect on residents over the years, and they just want the conclusion now.

“The amount of scrap that’s fallen off the lorries onto the roads is huge. I’ve just had to have some metal removed from my tyre. That’s the fourth time in the last two months. It’s happening to other people too. There’s just no courtesy.”

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The centre may also have to remove its fragmenter if the appeal is won, as well as reduce the number of lorries operating on a daily basis.

Neither the county council nor NHDC will give evidence at the hearing, but both will send representatives along to report back.

HCC will send its lead officer for the case, Iain Leech, while NHDC will send head of housing and public protection Andy Godman. Both councils said that they would comment after the hearing.

John Rice, of Metal and Waste Recycling, told The Comet that he didn’t think representatives from the company would attend.

He added: “The legal implications are such that I suspect there will not be a quick decision in relation to the site, as far as we are concerned. We are looking at a problem which could take years to resolve.

“We are not expecting anything to happen which will have any immediate impact on us. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not even a story.”

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