Anger over plans for metal recycling centre near West Norwood school

Residents have rubbished plans for a skip company to turn a little-used car breakers’ yard into a recycling centre handling 35,000 tonnes of metal a year.

Families in the area of Windsor Grove, West Norwood are fuming at the prospect of hundreds of extra noisy lorries lumbering down their street every working day.

Southwark Metals wants to move from its current site off the Old Kent Road – where flats look likely to be built – to Windsor Grove car breaker’s yard.

The site would become a scrap yard to receive, sort and dispatch 35,000 tonnes of scrap metal a year, which the firm says would be delivered by a maximum of 110 vehicles a day, compared to the previous 10. A quarter would be heavy goods vehicles of up to 32 tonnes, another 40 per cent trucks, and the rest light vans and cars.

The application currently has 1,076 comments lodged by locals – and none is in favour.

A petition also has more than 3,500 objectors.

The page, created by Carmen Sandilands, says: “Southwark Metals have little concern for the impact on the nearby schools and residents, and the impact of bulk carriers and other HGVs on roads throughout West Norwood.

“Southwark Metals need to act fast to find a new home for its Old Kent Road capacity, and can’t afford to be sensitive to us in West Norwood.

“The Windsor Grove site is an unsuitable location, down a narrow road off Norwood High Street, for their car and scrap metal ‘recycling’ plant.  This just happens to back on to Kingswood Primary School, Park Campus and Windsor Close housing.

“If the plan goes ahead the mainly diesel 120 daily vehicles will add to already high pollution levels, with engines idling whilst in traffic and/or waiting to pass.

“Consider school children‘s health from all the local schools, them crossing the roads these trucks would use, and emergency vehicles needing to speed past this congestion. The amount of heavy traffic this yard anticipates is frightening.”

The application is also opposed by eight local Labour councillors and a Green councillor and community groups in West Norwood.

The area’s MP, Helen Hayes, has written to Lambeth council to object to the planning application.

She said: “The proposed redevelopment would lead to a significant increase in heavy goods vehicles visiting the site.

“Windsor Grove is entirely unsuitable for this development. The increase in heavy goods vehicles would drastically increase traffic and make Windsor Grove and the surrounding road network unsafe for pedestrians, including many children walking to schools.

“The site would also lead to dangerous levels of air pollution into West Norwood, which already suffers from poor air quality. Lambeth council is rightly looking at how to reduce vehicles coming into the area and reduce pollution – these proposals would jeopardise this crucial work.

“The developers have not demonstrated that they have considered all possible sites or how this development would have any positive benefits for residents. Along with all of the local Labour councillors, I am urging Lambeth Council to reject this application which is wholly wrong for West Norwood.”

Windsor Grove is safeguarded for waste use and sits within a Key Industrial Business Area in the Local Plan adopted by Lambeth council in September 2015.

A spokesman for Southwark Metals said: “This planning application is for the modernisation and enclosure of an existing waste

“The site has an existing environmental permit to process up to 25,000 tonnes for vehicle depollution and is safeguarded by Lambeth Council.

“It also lies within a Key Industrial Business Area (KIBA), as set out in the council’s adopted Local Plan.

“The borough faces a massive shortfall in being able to deal with the waste that it produces, which means sites like Windsor Grove need to make a significant contribution to meet local demand.

“Southwark Metals are proposing a fully enclosed, secure and state-of-the-art metal recycling facility with a maximum throughput of 35,000 tonnes per annum.

“Having spent six months in dialogue with the local community, including with the Norwood Action Group, we made a
series of changes to the scheme, including reducing the proposed maximum throughput, fully enclosing the vehicle lane and introducing a green roof and wall to improve biodiversity.

“As a business with an unrivalled track record in the metal recycling industry, and an unblemished record of compliance with the regulatory regime that governs it, Southwark Metals wants to deliver a state-of-the-art facility at Windsor Grove that it can call home for the long-term.”


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