A business in St Albans is to be allowed to continue to recycle waste metal, after being granted retrospective planning permission by the county council.

Blancomet Recycling UK recycles a range of waste metal materials that include catalytic converters, car batteries and copper wire.

It has  been operating from its Lyon Way site, in St Albans, since 2015.

However the nature of the recycling business means that it requires planning permission to operate from the site.

The site is classed as being for B1/B2 use – business or general industrial – which does not cover Blancomet’s work.

So last Wednesday (February 23) a meeting of the county council’s development control committee considered a retrospective application for ‘change of use’.

At the meeting, councillors heard that staff at the site strip out and bundle component parts from catalytic converters and other items, which are then taken elsewhere for further recycling.

They were told that the activities at the site were “small scale”, generating low numbers of vehicle movements.

And they heard that while 22 neighbouring properties had been consulted,  none had replied.

However St Albans City and District Council did object to the application for the change of use, pointing to the loss of employment opportunity in the sectors covered by B1, B2 or B8 (equating to business, light industrial, storage and distribution).

And there was also an objection to the proposal from Colney Heath Parish Council.

Despite the objections, members of the development control committee agreed that the application – which gives the site ‘sui generis’ status – should be allowed.

Cllr David Andrews said: “This is a well-run site that shouldn’t disturb anybody else. I am happy and comfortable to support this application.”

Cllr Andrews said this was a business that aimed to recycle “every last globule” from vehicles.

And he said that with the move away from combustion engines to electric vehicles, it was the sort of business that should be encouraged and supported.

Supporting the application, Liberal Democrat Cllr John Hale, whose division includes the site, said there was some local concern about traffic access, but that he could see nothing in the application that would have a negative impact.

During the meeting members heard that Colney Heath Parish Council had objected on the basis that there had been “general encroachment by recycling facilities out of site boundaries”.

But councillors were told that the building materials that were seen at the rear of the industrial sites on Lyon Way – including Blancomet – was unlikely to have been caused by the recycling company.

And they heard that council officers were already looking into the matter and any possible enforcement activities.