Powerday Plc submitted a planning application in December, to demolish the existing Old Coal Depot buildings and construct a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), despite a promise in early 2015 not to develop the site and after a five-year battle with residents.
Similar plans for the site were submitted two years ago, but the council refused the application on the grounds of increased traffic, the impact on air quality, and a lack of plans to mitigate both of these negative side effects. Some of these issues still remain.
Residents associations and councillors have been working tirelessly to gather signatures and lobby MPs to halt the plans from being approved.
'Quality of life unacceptable'
In a letter to Hillingdon Council, Dr Onkar Sahota, Labour London Assembly member for Hillingdon and Ealing, set out his reasons for opposing the plans.
These included concerns about an large increase in HGVs on local roads, adding to already heavy traffic in the area. Congestion is expected to worsen further once the nearby Crossrail Station opens in three years’ time.
He said: “We were threatened with a waste facility on this site only two years ago, and I am extremely disappointed that the applicant has resurrected these plans.
“The impact of this proposed development on the quality of life of local residents is unacceptable.
“Our local roads are already very busy, if we see more HGVs coming into the area not only will local people be forced to sit for longer in heavy traffic, we could see a worrying increase in air pollution. That’s not good for anybody.
Dr Sahota AM also expressed concern that the development could lead to poorer air quality and have a negative impact on local people in homes, businesses, and community facilities neighbouring the site. Some are within just 50 metres.
The local Assembly Member’s concerns come as City Hall ruled that the proposals are not compliant with the Mayor’s London Plan. The planning application has been referred back to Hillingdon Council, with Dr Sahota saying the authority should “follow suit” and reject the proposals
He added: “We need a bit of common sense.
“The Deputy Mayor of London has already concluded that the application does not comply with the London Plan. Hillingdon Council should follow suit - they have refused this application before and they must do so again.”
MPs being lobbied after full councillor support
Cllr Dominic Gilham, a West Drayton ward councillor who is also the Conservative AM candidate for Hillingdon, is “fully with residents” on their campaign.
His main arguments against the proposals are also HGVs causing traffic delays and an increase in air pollution, having previously resigned from the local authority planning committee to speak out against it.
He said: “The original application was rightly refused by Hillingdon in 2013, and since then the West London Waste Plan has identified the site as inaccessible and removed it from the list of suitable sites.
“Powerday have failed to overcome this clear notice of unsuitability.
I will continue to lobby not only the Mayor of London but also the Secretary of State on this urgent matter.
David Andrew, chairman of the Garden City Residents Association, thinks a planning application hearing is unlikely to take place in March, his initial prediction.
After success collecting signatures with local councillors, Mr Andrew is now lobbying MPs for support.
He said: “Everyone we’ve contacted in the local area has supported us but we haven’t got anything in writing yet from our MP’s, which is what we’re seeking.”