Hitchin scrapyard High Court appeal rejected because ‘use did not change’

A HIGH Court appeal which sought to impose restrictions on a scrapyard failed because it was not deemed that the site use had changed.

Herts County Council (HCC) launched High Court action, after the secretary of state ruled in an inquiry that no restrictions needed to be imposed on Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd in Hitchin.

In an official report and transcript of the appeal, which was released to the Comet this week, it emerged that Mr Justice Ouseley, who heard the case at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, found in the secretary of state’s favour because he did not believe the use of the scrapyard had changed.

The council had argued that there was a change of use of the site, because there was an intensification of use from the lorry throughput as a result of the fragmentiser installation.

Mr Justice Ouseley rejected the claim.

“The concept of a material change of use by intensification requires an increase in the scale of all or some of the activities on site, leaving aside how or where that has to manifest itself. It is that increase which has to cause the change of use,” he said.

“The fragmentiser was permitted development... Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed.”

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Daniel Kolinsky, on behalf of the secretary of state, applied for costs of �9,380 which Mr Justice Ouseley granted.

But an application for costs from Metal and Waste’s counsel was rejected.

Mr Justice Ouseley said: “It is not sufficient in order to persuade the court that you had a legitimate interest in attending and a perfectly proper role to play in the argument.

“I do not think this case brings it sufficiently into an exceptional category to warrant an order for costs in your favour.”

An appeal has now been launched against the decision, after HCC decided it had a cause to challenge the ruling.

While that gets underway, councillors at HCC and North Herts District Council (NHDC), continue to discuss options for a link road and lorry park.

But a panel group, which consists of county and district council councillors and officers, has been delayed by a month.

The meeting, which is not open to members of the public or press, was scheduled for tomorrow (Friday), but will now be held at the end of April instead.