Scrapyard opponents to protest at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton

young girls with protest placards
Protest outside the West Norwood site in May this year

Opponents of a plan to build a metal recycling plant, served by dozens of large vehicles each day, next to schools and homes will protest outside Lambeth town hall in Brixton tomorrow (13 July).

The physically distanced demonstration is due to begin at 6pm.

Councillors are meeting at the town hall at 7pm to decide on a planning application to turn a former car breaker’s yard in West Norwood that processed 152 tonnes of metal a year into a large metal recycling plant run By Southwark Metals.

The application, which is backed by council officers, but opposed by local councillors and the MP for the area, Helen Hayes, would see 25,000 tonnes of metal a year processed at the site, taken there by large vehicles that would travel on many local roads.

Opposition is not confined to local residents and their #ScrapTheYard campaign.

The operation in West Norwood would have a serious impact on traffic in Brixton and other parts of Lambeth.

Royal Mail has recently repeated and updated its objections to the planning application. 

It has attracted more than 2,500 comments on the council’s planning website, only four of them in favour.

Further recent objections to the application have come from the Herne Hill Society and a combination of the Norwood Action Group, the Norwood Forum, the Norwood Planning Assembly, and Station to Station, the busines improvement district covering West Norwood’s central shopping area.

Nearly 5,500 people have already signed a petition against the plans.

The proposed site is at the end of a narrow cul de sac, Windsor Grove, off West Norwood High Street.

urban traffic
West Norwood High Street at the junction with Windsor Grove – the road is already congested and used by HGVs serving builders’ yards

The immediate area already has two large builders’ yards where deliveries by HGVs disrupt local traffic, including buses serving Brixton.

The proposed scrapyard would significantly increase lorry traffic in the area.

Royal Mail is concerned about the impact of the proposed development on access to one of its delivery offices which is right next to the disputed site.

It says both the construction and the operation of the site risk significant disruption to its operations and its ability to meet statutory and regulatory requirements.

Royal Mail says parking bays outside its depot could be used or blocked due to congestion, with a significant adverse impact on the ability of customers to access parcel services.

Royal Mail says that revisions to the application and additional information developed by the applicant and Lambeth council officers do not resolve these issues.

urban street
Windsor Grove looking towards its junction with West Norwood High Street

It says that the development would have an unacceptable impact on road safety and a severe impact on the local road network.

Royal Mail is further concerned about the potential risk of dust and noise from the facility having a negative effect on its staff.

Campaigners against the petition point out that there are two schools as well as homes immediately next to the site.

The application is by a property company, Urban & Provincial. It shares a director with Southwark Metals, which would operate the proposed scrapyard.

A linked application, also by Urban & Provincial, seeks approval to redevelop an existing waste disposal site on Shakespeare Road in Herne Hill by building more than 200 flats on it.

For this development to go ahead, Lambeth council must find replacement waste disposal capacity in the borough.

The Herne Hill Society, in its objection, says that the Windsor Grove site is much smaller than the Shakespeare Road one and would only process metals.

The Shakespeare Road site deals mainly with construction, demolition and excavation material that would have to be taken elsewhere.

metal reprocessing plant
Southwark Metals’ site near Millwall football ground
building site
The site at the end of Windsor Grove

Southwark Metals has made it clear that the proposed West Norwood site would do work currently undertaken at a site near Millwall football ground.

The Herne Hill Society says “these two linked applications might satisfy the requirements of the landowner” but conflict with several Lambeth and London-wide planning policies.

The society wants both to be deferred and Lambeth council to seek long-term solutions to dealing with waste in co-operation with the Great London Authority and the Western Riverside Waste Authority (WRWA), the statutory body responsible for Lambeth waste, and other boroughs.

One neighbouring borough, Croydon, has repeated its opposition to the Windsor Grove applications despite tweaks to it by the applicant and Lambeth council officers.

The Herne Hill Society says the tweaks “gloss over” the full impact of the proposal on increased traffic in Lambeth.

It says documents in the application dealing with waste are “scarcely credible”.

The Lambeth council officers’ documents on the application run to more than 54,000 words and contain details of several conditions that would be imposed on the site if the planning committee approves the application.

They can be downloaded from the council website.

The meeting of the planning sub-committee will be streamed online. Details on the council website.

The Norwood Forum has full details of the campaign against the site: