Nervy wait for residents following Hitchin scrapyard High Court challenge

RESIDENTS who have been fighting to get restrictions imposed at a scrapyard following claims it is affecting their quality of life face a nervy wait to see whether a High Court appeal will finally be successful.

Those who live near Metal and Waste Recycling in Wallace Way, Hitchin, claim lorries travelling to and from the site have made their lives a misery.

There are also concerns about noise coming from the site, and pollution.

Although residents have fought for nearly a decade and have seen a previous High Court appeal in February fail, they refuse to give up hope on finding a solution.

A High Court appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice in London was brought by Herts County Council (HCC), and heard by three of the country’s top judges last Thursday.

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The council has said that the outcome of that could take up to a month – or three weeks from today – although a decision could be made as early as next week.

It could be the last chance to get restrictions imposed on the site.

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District councillor Lisa Courts, who lives near the site, told the Comet that residents and councillors did not go to the court hearing, following disappointment in the past.

“We have all got to the point where we don’t want to tempt fate,” she said.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up, as we’ve been here before.

“It will be a nervy wait, but what’s another two weeks in the great scheme of things. Residents have been asking me when we’ll hear.

“We think it will take a while, because the judges seemed to be split in their views.”

Cllr Courts also said that, if the appeal was not successful, she would be pursuing other ways to alleviate the problems.

That includes a link road, which would avoid lorries having to travel through mainly residential areas.

“A link road is something we need to pursue anyway,” she added.

“I don’t think any of the roads in Hitchin will take much more heavy traffic.

“There are things highlighted by the World Health Organisation, and I’m interested in making more of that. That’s something that the UK doesn’t take much notice of, which concerns me.”

The appeal was launched because a Government official did not deem it necessary to impose restrictions on the site, despite a county council enforcement notice.

Both the county council and district council – as well as the many residents – claim there has been a change of use to the site. Mr Justice Ouseley disagreed with this in February’s High Court hearing.

If this appeal is successful, then the secretary of state may have to look at the case again.

Herts County Council said it would comment once a decision had been reached.

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