Residents battle to halt spread of an ‘industrial monster’

Heavy lorries in Peeks Brook Lane, Shipley Bridge SUS-170125-130649001
Heavy lorries in Peeks Brook Lane, Shipley Bridge SUS-170125-130649001

Residents living in a country lane have launched a desperate battle to halt an ‘industrial monster’ on their doorstep.

They say their lives have been made ‘a total misery’ by a waste firm’s expansion of its site near their homes in Peeks Brook Lane, Shipley Bridge, near Crawley.

The land at Rivington Farm was originally used as smallholdings but has since been taken over by United Grab Hire.

The waste firm has gradually expanded its use of the land and is now seeking retrospective planning permission from West Sussex County Council to site two shipping containers there, a weigh station, two offices, a staff welfare unit and eight storage bays.

It’s also seeking approval for the widening and part sealing of an access road and the installation of a wheel wash.

But desperate residents have put forward a string of objections.

Members of the Peeks Brook Lane Residents’ Association say United Grab Hire have created “unacceptable levels of traffic and pollution.”

Many are elderly and fear that their health is being affected.

In a protest to the county council, they say: “The volume of traffic using these small residential lanes is inappropriate, damaging and dangerous, impacting on residents’ quality of life.”

They say that up to 200 lorries a day ‘thunder’ past their homes, creating dirt, dust and diesel emissions.

They also fear that vibrations from the heavy vehicles could damage their properties.

And, they say that pedestrians are in danger when lorries use the narrow access lane and many vehicles have churned up grass verges and areas in front of their homes. Road drainage has been blocked, they say, because of road deposits from the lorries.

In a letter to the county council the residents’ association state that the area “has been allowed to grow into an industrial monster.”

They want Peeks Brook Lane closed to lorries and access to Rivington Farm diverted onto the B2037 or via a gate onto the B2036.

And they are pleading to county planning committee members to “protect our safety and wellbeing.”

Development of the site, they say, is uncontrolled and has gone from a few smallholdings ‘to an unofficial industrial estate.”

Crawley Borough Council objected to United Grab Hire’s proposals in a letter to West Sussex County Council in September.

A decision on the matter is expected to be made at a county council meeting next week.