New scrapyard noise fears fall on deaf ears

Maxileads old site which is earmarked for housing
Maxileads old site which is earmarked for housing

A new scrap metal recycling centre in Wigan has been granted planning permission, despite fears that neighbours will suffer from noise pollution.

Successful borough-based company Maxilead Metals received the green light in January for a new facility on land north of Chanters Industrial Estate in Atherton.

The bid returned before the council’s planning committee because the firm had proposed design changes including a revised boundary and a different site lay-out.

Committee members again approved the proposal but tweaked regulations on the business’s trading hours after hearing concerns about early morning noise from HGVs’ entering the site.

Although approval was granted, Maxilead’s move and the linked permission for housing on the firm’s former site in Tyldesley is under consideration by the secretary of state and may yet be called in, the committee was informed.

Officers said that the results of an evaluation had shown residents on nearby Crawford Avenue and Douglas Road would experience an increase in noise, but the level is deemed to be acceptable and not sufficient to refuse the application.

Maxilead had proposed to install a five metre embankment and acoustic fence around the site as noise dampening measures.

However, the committee was informed the evaluation had taken into account the level of activity on the firm’s previous site and not the increased activity on the proposed new facility.

And nearby residents were concerned about the impact of air pollution on public health and the safety risk posed by an increase of HGV traffic.

But members ultimately agreed with officers that “any adverse amenity issues can be satisfactorily mitigated against” through conditions attached to the permission notice.

A motion to approve the plan was backed by a majority vote.

Coun Stuart Gerrard, Independent representative for Atherton, said his concerns about the impact on residents remained, however.

He told the committee: “I’m a little bit wary that if we do approve this we could be inviting what has been described as a bad neighbour into Atherton.”

The trading hours should be changed from 6.30am to 5pm to 7am to 5.30pm, the committee advised.

The new facility will allow Maxilead to double its operating capacity with 80 employees on the site, the committee heard.