Councillor Read vows to fight for the people of North Walsham against selfish big business


[[press release]]


Norwich Green Party councilor and lead candidate for MEP Rupert Read attended a meeting at North Walsham Community Centre last night, 26 August 2008.  The meeting took place to hear both sides of the raging debate between waste transfer company HFS and local residents of North Walsham and Spa Common.


HFS have applied for planning permission to carry 74,999,999 tons of waste to and from their Spa Common waste transfer station, and have purchased several large tankers for this purpose, including 44 ton HGVs, the largest permitted on British roads.


Local residents object to the serious danger these large vehicles pose to cyclists and pedestrians in the town generally, but particularly on the little country lanes leading to the HFS facility, and down Manor Road, on parts of which the lorries literally take up the whole road.  When two trucks meet down that road, one has to reverse all the way back.  Wing mirrors have been knocked off the vehicles about once a week as the road is so narrow in places, and even when two cars meet, they have to stop and maneuver to the sides of the road so they can pass. Residents wondered aloud whether such little lanes were really appropriate places for 44 ton HGVs…


Rupert Read addressed the gathering of 180 people saying it seemed clear that a lot of them were determined to do everything in their power to stop “this monstrous plan” from going ahead.  When he asked them “Am I right?”, he received a resounding cry of “Yes!” from the hall.  He then announced that the Norfolk Green Party are with them all the way in this struggle, and sat down to loud applause.


When another Green Party activist in the crowd asked co-owner of HFS Alastair Wait if he believed he had increased or decreased the quality of life of residents in the area, Wait had to admit that he was decreasing it.  This earned Wait the retort (from said activist) that he was therefore obviously interested in his own profits over the well being of the local community and Wait’s morality was questioned.


Rupert Read will today be placing a formal planning objection to HFS’s application. He said: “Norfolk Green Party will stand shoulder to shoulder with the local residents to fight this plan on the grounds that the location and road infrastructure is grossly unfit for purpose, and poses a real danger to the general public. If this application were to go ahead, and if there were then a serious accident involving one of these mega-lorries and a child, I don’t believe that any resident, Councillor or indeed business-man could really ever forgive themselves.”

8 thoughts on “Councillor Read vows to fight for the people of North Walsham against selfish big business”

  1. Rupert, you are quite right in your, and North Walsham’s, campaign against HFS’ proposal.

    From 1969-1976 I lived in North Walsham with my parents and have visited the town in recent years. This town is an attractive town which is very pleasant to live in. Big business cannot be allowed to ruin it.

  2. It appears from Ruperts comments on the meeting at North Walsham that he is yet another person who has not read the planning application, but has strong views and comments based on the mis information feed to him by a few local residents.
    HFS are a small local firm who not only handle liquid waste but also carry out specialist cleaning and drainage solutions. I would ask anyone who has an interest in this application to view their web site. (
    The figure stated of 74,999,999 tons is only incorrect by just under 75 million. The lorrys have not been recently purchased and have been operating from the site for over 9 months. The number of lorrys can not increase as the operators licence only allows 6 lorrys, only three of these are articulated, one of which is due to be replaced by a SMALLER lorry next year.
    The question that was asked about would the application approval change the quality of life for the residents, the answer is NO, there would be no change as HFS confirmed that could foresee no increase in the number of lorry movements than they have been doing for the last 9 months.
    If Rupert is going to have a successful polictical career, lets hope he will listen to both sides of the story, (and not just chase votes) so that he can give a more accurate and objective statement about issues that are important to us all.

  3. Thanks, Syd.
    The figure of 74,999,999 is correct; it refers to the total amount to be permitted to be stored that is on the planning application.
    As was crystal clear at the public meeting, there have been serious problems on the roads _already_ due to HFS, and so as a transport specialist my opinion is strongly that this business is inappropriately sited. So planning permission should not be granted.
    If you have anything to say which could actually influence that opinion, Syd, I would be interested to hear it.
    ps. On the question of quality of life, what you say here Syd is in flat contradiction to what was said at the meeting, where the boss of the firm was forced to admit that the quality of life of residents was likely to worsen, with the ongoing traffic to and from HFS.

  4. Hi Rupert
    You are correct that the figure of 74,999,999 is correct but that is litres and not tons and therefore it equals 74,999 tons. It is mistakes like this that have been feed to locals and caused them so much concern. I attended the public meeting and it is crystal clear to me that when HFS asked who had read the information available only half a dozen people out of 200 put up their hands. They were therefore at the meeting based on the information they had been told and not what they had read for themselves. Which does annoy me.
    I do agree that the location may not be ideal but a lot of the current traffic is what attends the scrap yard, and many of those drivers do drive like idiots. Listening to the radio interview I heard one of the protestors, who is a local resident state “I did not even know they were there until last Friday” which to me says it all.
    I do understand your concerns but when I spoke to HFS the alternative is to run half empty tankers all over the country which can’t be good for the environment.
    I do wonder if you have visited HFS at Marshgate and spoken to them directly to get a more balanced view to the argument.

  5. Rupert if you did not spot the litres – tons mistake is it possible that there are other things that may have been missed and you still did not asnwer the question about whether your decision on this application is based on only one side of the story.
    I am an avocate of the Green party and believe we need to get things right now for the sake of our children and our childrens children but I am disappointed if we do not try to find solutions to some of these problems instead of just dismissing them out of hand.
    I would be interested to know if you have been to or spoken to HFS.

  6. Syd; anything is possible, but that doesn’t mean that we should reserve judgement on everything, until it is too late…
    I am glad to hear that you are an advocate of my Party despite the disagreement that we are having here! Thanks for that ‘vot of confidence’…

  7. Hi Rupert, thank you staying engaged I was beginning to think you were not going to talk to me anymore. I have just listened to the speech posted of the green party leader and the comment about being honest with ourselves stuck in my mind. You still did not answer my question about if you had heard both sides of the story, and please don’t say that was what the meeting with Norman Lamb was about because that was hardly a debate but a question and answer session.
    I have spoken to HFS and they state that you have not contacted them to hear there side of the planning application, I also found out that you caught the train to the meeting which is commendable but makes me wonder if you have even travelled down the roads and lanes you are so strongly defending. You stated your a transport specilist but how can you make comment on a transport problem that you may not have seen or reviewed all the data.
    You also say there is clearly problems on the roads due to HFS (what about all the skip lorrys that use the road) but at the meeting it was clear that most of the people at the meeting and it appears includiong yourself were there based on the information they had been fed by a few of the neighbours.
    Please let me know if you intend to contact HFS and visit the roads involved so hopefully you can be honest to yourself rather than making judgements based on the opinions of others, surely that is not what the green party is all about.

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