LOCAL RESIDENTS were left angry yesterday after the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (DC) refused planning permission for a lorry park and storage use at Howard Tenens Industrial Estate in Stifford Road.
Residents had supported the plans as the front entrance would have been redirected away from homes.
Residents spokesperson, Peter Perrin said: “We have 347 signatures supporting this application. The number of lorries coming into the estate has increased massively and has made life very difficult for the people who live on the Stifford Road.
“The proposals would see a side entrance away from the houses.
“The plans also see a commitment to the Hangmans Wood area. Thurrock Council have left that area to rot.
But Belhus councillor Charles Curtis begged to differ.
He said: “The continuing and increased use of the lorry park has been to the detriment of the area. Lorry drivers use the woods as a toilet, litter has increased ten-fold; lorries in the lay-bys make it impossible for residents to use the pavement; the lights of the lorries shine directly into the homes.
“There appears to be an increase in the number of gas cannisters in the area, which if there was a fire, I dread to think what would happen.
“Howard Tenens seem to arrogantly think that they are here to stay and that is that”.
Peter Butler from the Road Haulage Assocation was asked to give his perspective on whether there was an increasing presence of lorries in the borough.
He said: “Despite the recession, there is an increase in the demand for parking for lorries in the region. One of the reasons is the increase in the number of times when the ports are closed and Operation Stack comes into play”.
Representing Howard Tenens, Lauren Dooley stressed the number of jobs that would be brought to the area, should the application be successful.
She said: “There is an opportunity for over 126 new jobs to come to the area as well as many jobs saved.
The lay-by would be removed and the proposed landscaping would vastly improve and reverse the decline in that area.
Having had their say, Chair of Planning, Bill Samuel said: “We have to concentrate on what are the real issues: that of the unauthorised use of this estate as an ad hoc lorry park and building on the green belt that has had an impact on ancient woodland”.
The agenda detailed that on the 19th February 2009, Thurrock Council served Enforcement Notices.
The Notice makes reference to: “The making of a material change of use of the land for the storage and parking of heavy goods vehicles and trailers.
The Enforcement Notice is subject to a Public Inquiry which is due to resume in late 2010.
The DC voted to refuse the application.