St Albans neighbours plead with council to enforce planning refusal and stop industrial work

Neighbours of the North Orbital Industrial Estate are being affected by the activities of companies

Neighbours of the North Orbital Industrial Estate are being affected by the activities of companies on the site. - Credit: Archant

Long-suffering neighbours have pleaded with council planners to take action and stop invasive work from “devastating” their lives.

Two businesses in St Albans’ North Orbital Commercial Park have leased units without realising they did not have planning permission to carry out industrial activity.

Both CAD Stairs and Citygate Holdings’ units should only be used for storage and distribution - because noxious fumes, constant noise, and strong odours created by industrial activities float unwelcome into neighbouring gardens and homes.

This means residents cannot open windows, hang their washing out, or use their back gardens.

Retrospective change of use planning applications were lodged by the companies to legalise their work but the Meadowcroft and New Barnes Avenue Action Group have been fighting against it.

So far the group has been technically successful because both applications were rejected, but they report the invasive work has continued regardless.

At SADC’s full council meeting on July 12, the group presented a petition signed by about 110 houses asking for enforcement action to implement planning rejections.

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Susie Wyeth lives behind CAD Stair’s unit, and spoke passionately on behalf of the group: “Citygate’s activities include panel beating, car spray painting, which emits heavy fumes and jet washing.

“CAD Stairs’ involve constant sawing noise, a continual droning hum, loud banging and frequent burning of wood which results in thick smoke and strong fumes in our gardens and our homes.”

She also described use of an angle grinder outside the unit, on an “almost daily basis”.

Adding: “Nothing is being done to prevent them being let under these false pretences and there is every likelihood that no matter what happens with these units, we will face a third and a forth unit who set up and start industrial activity as well, further destroying our neighbourhood.”

CAD Stairs declined to comment when approached by the Herts Ad, and the paper was unable to contact Citygate Holdings.

Portfolio holder for planning at SADC, Cllr Mary Maynard, will now look at the petition and be in touch with the group.