St Albans neighbours plead for a change in leasing policy at industrial estate

PUBLISHED: 14:28 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:15 20 April 2017

Suzie Wyeth and her neighbours are being affected by another storage unit on the North Orbital Trading Estate being used for manufacturing purposes and causing fumes and noise.

Suzie Wyeth and her neighbours are being affected by another storage unit on the North Orbital Trading Estate being used for manufacturing purposes and causing fumes and noise.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

A campaign pleading with estate advisors to change their leasing policy has been sent by St Albans householders plagued by constant noise, noxious fumes, and strong odours from a neighbouring industrial estate.

When CAD Stairs, a wooden staircase makers, leased Unit 9 in the North Orbital Commercial Park (NOCP), it was for storage and distribution, and the owner said they did not realise it was unacceptable to use the site to manufacture.

A long-running planning application battle was triggered after the company started to physically create the stairs on-site and in February 2017 a retrospective planning application was refused by St Albans district council (SADC).

Neither parties believe the battle is over - residents say manufacturing as continued despite the ruling, and CAD say they are working on an appeal which has not yet been lodged.

SADC said it is currently investigating complaints, but CAD Stairs did not wish to comment when approached by the Herts Advertiser.

A similar situation has also caused tension with neighbouring Units 15/16, which are leased by Citygate Holdings, a respraying car company - it said it had been told their industrial activities were legal, but was refused a retrospective planning application.

But the Meadowcroft and New Barnes Avenue Action Group argue this whole saga could have been avoided if JLL, who are the lettings agents, had been clear to potential renters about the rules.

They are worried more of the units could be leased to businesses who plan to use them for unacceptable manufacturing purposes.

The group said: “While making no comment on whether agents did make such representations, it would of course be unhelpful to the situation at the NOCP if agents did imply that any units available for lettings had certain permission which they in fact do not have.”

They asked that “no such representation be made in respect of these or any further units in that row”.

It noted that residents’ relationships with the two companies is no longer a good one as a result of the miscommunication.

Around 110 houses from streets in the action group have signed a petition lending their support to the campaign.

JLL has not responded to several requests from the Herts Ad for comment.

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