Residents vow to fight against new Hitchin lorry centre

RESIDENTS are preparing to fight against a new HGV operating centre which could open in their street, in an area already blighted by lorries travelling to and from a scrap plant.

Essex company Nationwide Metal Recycling Ltd has announced plans to open the centre, which would hold 15 lorries and 12 trailers, in Cadwell Lane, Hitchin.

Residents already feel there are too many lorries driving past their houses to and from Metal and Waste Recycling in Wallace Way, and oppose anything which would increase the number even further.

They are also concerned about lack of details available on proposals to open the new centre.

A meeting was held on Monday with county and district councillors to discuss what can be done.

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Cllr Lisa Courts said: “The notice doesn’t say what time they plan to operate, or any details. We’re trying to find those out.

“Residents are extremely concerned, because the road network isn’t suitable and there’s no information on these vehicles. It’s more upset for residents who suffer already, and more worry on the safety of children walking to school.”

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As things stand, residents, businesses and other interested parties have just a few days to respond to the plans.

A decision will then be made by the Traffic Commissioner, on behalf of the secretary of state for transport. It is not thought an application would have to be made to the local authority.

Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, transport and enterprise, said: “Following a public notice, officers and relevant local members held a meeting to discuss the application. At the time of the meeting, the full application had yet to be submitted to the Traffic Commissioner’s Office so it was not possible to discuss it in any detail.

“It is anticipated that as and when the full application appears on the Traffic Commissioner’s website, a further meeting will be held.”

Meanwhile, a date has been set for a High Court appeal seeking to impose restrictions on Metal and Waste Recycling, following a failed appeal earlier this year which ruled that the secretary of state was correct in not putting any restrictions in originally.

The appeal will be heard in London on October 4 or 5 this year. If successful, a public inquiry could be held again to determine the way forward.

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