Details of a public inquiry into controversial plans for a large metal-sorting plant in a cul de sac near schools and homes in West Norwood are now available on the Lambeth council website.
The council’s planning committee has already unanimously rejected the application.
Opponents warn that, if allowed, it would lead to an increase in very large lorries using roads in Brixton and elsewhere in Lambeth and South London.
The application is by a property dealer, Urban & Provincial. The company shares a director with Southwark Metals, which would operate the West Norwood plant.
The West Norwood planning application is linked to another application by Urban & Provincial to build 100-plus flats on the current site of a waste yard at the Brixton end of Shakespeare Road.
Lambeth council’s planning committee has approved this plan, but it cannot go ahead until the waste processing capacity that would be lost at Shakespeare Road is replaced elsewhere in the borough.
The intention of Southwark Metals and Urban & Provincial was that the West Norwood plant would provide this capacity.
They were supported in this by Lambeth council’s planning officers, but they were overruled by elected councillors on the planning committee.
The applicant’s to the Planning Inspectorate appeal against this decision was followed by an announcement that Michael Gove, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, will determine the appeal, rather than an inspector.
The reason given for Gove’s involvement is that the appeal involves proposals which “raise important or novel issues of development control, and/or legal difficulties”.
An inspector, Richard Clegg, will consider the appeal and prepare a report and recommendation, but Gove will decide.
The Planning Inspectorate has scheduled the inquiry – which will be online – to open at 10am on 1 March. It is due to close on 8 March.
Should the council’s decision be overturned, it could be liable to pay the substantial costs of itself and other parties in a six-day hearing where they are likely to be represented by barristers.
Lambeth council’s website says “it is unknown how many third parties will wish to appear at the event, but the inspector has made clear that they must be accommodated.”
These are the links needed to watch the live stream of the six days of the appeal. They involve the use of Microsoft Teams software, which should be free for this use.
Anyone wanting to speak at the inquiry must tell Lambeth council by email. Details are on the council website.
The latest documents in the case, including a joint statement by five community groups, are available on the Lambeth council website. They are also available from the Planning Inspectorate in a more convenient format.
The community groups, unlike other parties to the appeal, cannot afford to be represented by a barrister. They are the Norwood Forum; the Norwood Action Group; Norwood Planning Assembly; the Station to Station Business Improvement District (BID); and #ScrapTheYard.
They say that the traffic, pollution (noise, negative air quality and negative carbon effects) and road safety factors associated with the proposed scheme are “too impactful an operation” on the lives of children and adults in adjacent homes and schools, adding “The impact on the local road network, already often congested, will only exacerbate matters”.
They also say that “The community believes the sole driver for the appeal scheme is the linked application at Shakespeare Road.”