Plans for a metal recycling centre in West Norwood have received nearly 1,000 objections. 

Southwark Metals has submitted a planning application to Lambeth Council to construct a purpose-built 1,915sqm industrial shed for metal recycling, as well as an office building, at the end of Windsor Grove, former home of West Norwood Car Breakers.

The street is bordered on one side by a residential estate and a Royal Mail delivery office on the other.

The company argues that Lambeth “faces a massive shortfall in being able to deal with the waste it produces”, and the centre will make a “significant contribution” to meeting local demand. 

But locals are fiercely opposed to the plans, which they say will put school children at risk of being knocked down and increase “toxic” air pollution.  

Wandsworth Times:

The proposed site at the end of Windsor Grove

The site is located behind two schools, Kingswood Primary and Parks Campus.  

One objector said there is “no benefit” for local communities.  

“Only inconvenience, jamming of already congested roads, pollution, and respiratory problems,” they added.  

Another said: “If Lambeth Council allows this to go ahead, the streets of West Norwood and Tulse Hill will become very dangerous for pedestrians and road users.  

“Road congestion will rise, air quality will plummet, tempers will flare and accidents will occur.

“It’s already bad enough with the volume of traffic passing through West Norwood, but with this will development our roads will not be able to cope.” 

Another described the proposed centre as a “monstrosity”  

“It would exacerbate traffic issues, increase air and noise pollution and increase the industrial footprint in a residential area. Not acceptable when the community needs locations for the community needs.

“Why can’t metal works operate in a rural area which won’t affect people’s lives and health?” they asked.  

Wandsworth Times:

CGI of what the centre could look like

Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes wrote to the council after being contacted by “many constituents”, and described the plans as “entirely unsuitable”.  

“My concerns focus on the impact this application would have on traffic and air pollution in the local area.  

“Windsor Grove is a narrow cul-de-sac, bordering a housing estate and visited frequently throughout the day by pedestrians visiting the Royal Mail delivery office to collect post and parcels.  

“The high number of heavy goods vehicles visiting the recycling facility throughout the day would increase risk for pedestrians and cyclists including residents of Windsor Grove Estate entering and leaving their homes,” she said.  

She added that the application fails to take into account the increased stress on the surrounding road network. 

“I am particularly concerned about the potential for reduced road safety for students at Kingswood Primary School and Park Campus.  

“The proposed site borders both schools, based on Gipsy Road. This narrow street already has high levels of traffic, frequent gridlock and road rage incidents, and an increase in heavy goods vehicles using Gipsy Road and Elder Road would increase the risk to children attending school in the area,” she said. 

Ms Hayes added that the development “would risk damaging wooded National Rail land which is designated as a site of importance for nature conservation, which Kingswood Primary School has plans, in discussion with Network Rail, to use as a forest school”.  

“It is vital in the context of the climate emergency that existing urban habitats continue to receive the highest level of protection and that we take every opportunity to enable children to have access to nature as part of their education,” she said.  

A spokesperson for Southwark Metals said the application was for “the modernisation and enclosure of an existing waste facility”.  

“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 is 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,” he said.  

Residents have until tomorrow (June 16) to comment on the proposals, which have yet to receive any comments of support online.