Options explored after Hitchin scrapyard High Court appeal lost

COUNCILLORS are calling for a ban on lorries parking overnight across a whole town, after a High Court appeal to impose restrictions on a scrapyard was lost.

Herts County Council brought the appeal, with support of district councillors and residents, against the secretary of state’s decision to not impose any restrictions on Waste and Metal Recycling Ltd, in Wallace Way, Hitchin.

The Comet reported last week that the appeal had been lost, but since then, councillors involved in the campaign have been discussing alternative options.

Among the possibilities being aired is an overnight HGV parking ban in the whole of the town, and to open up a link road which is being used for the rail curve construction.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) councillor Lisa Courts said that, while residents were disappointed with the decision, which was reached last Wednesday, they were all looking for a way to move forward.

She has also written to MP Eric Pickles, criticising the judicial and appeal process. Her letter has been forwarded to the planning inspectorate.

“From our point of view, we are going to try and move forward. We are going to approach Herts Highways to see if we can get an order for a parking ban on HGVs. They already have those in Letchworth and Baldock,” she told The Comet.

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“I plan to raise it at Hitchin area committee, and I’m going to speak to the council this week about what we can do.

“We will keep fighting, and we will find a solution. I’m determined to find that. I’m here for the residents at the end of the day.”

A link road will provide access to construction workers for Network Rail’s rail curve project over the next few years, but once that is finished, there are no plans to use it further.

District councillor Paul Clark said that opening it up to Metal and Waste should be considered.

“Our understanding is that once the curve is built, the road will still be there. We are suggesting that once that’s the case, it could be used to provide access for the HGVs,” he said.

“We are trying to get the balance. We don’t want to stop business, we are not trying to stop business growing. We need to look at what business needs, and what residents need.”

Rebecca Tuley, who lives in Cadwell Lane, was shocked by the High Court outcome. She has lived in the same house for 25 years, and said the change of the site over that period of time had not been considered by the Government.

Metal and Waste Recycling said it was not surprised by the outcome of the appeal, but added that it fully supported the possibility of the link road.

Spokesman John Rice told The Comet: “We were not at all surprised at the result, because that the advice we have been given through out. We are obviously disappointed that rate payers’ money is being used to fund legal actions that are seen to have little or no chance of success.

“I’m a Herts rate payer. I would think we have 150 to 200 employees who are Herts rate payers. It seems to us that the county’s action is unfortunate.

“We’ve been raising the issue of the link road for the last 10 years. We’ve always been totally in favour of it.”

The formal transcripts of why the appeal was lost can take up to a month before they are available. Both HCC and NHDC said they would comment further when those were available.

Both added that they were disappointed with the decision, and that it had been a blow to residents.