What next for Johal’s Scrapyard?

Uncertainty hangs over the Johal Scrapyard site on the Colnbrook By-pass.  Over the past month disturbance from the illegal scapyard has once again blighted Colnbrook as the site has slowly been cleared, raising residents’ hopes.  However, unconfirmed reports now suggest the site – which was finally granted planning permission by Slough Borough Council last year, has now been sold.

The site was the source of local anger for five years as noise and vibrations disrupted church services and made local residents’ lives a misery.

johal rear

A year ago the Planning Committee overturned officers’ recommendations and objections from neighbours to approve the application to build a legal waste processing station on the site on the tenth attempt.  They conceded they had limited powers to completely stop the current operations.  The decision was based on the agreement to revert the 200m strip at the back end of the site to Green Belt (the site of an old road), slightly lessening the impact in the central community hub of the village.

Cllrs Choudhry, Dhaliwal, Rasib, Swindlehurst, and Zarait were slated at the time for selling out Colnbrook.

Just 2 years earlier when owner Mr Amrik Johal was successfully prosecuted for excessive noise the then Commissioner for Slough neighbourhoods and renewal, Cllr James Swindlehurst, had stated:

Residents have a right to enjoy peaceful surroundings around their homes, and we will take action against those who do not respect this right. Whether it is individuals or businesses, the Council has a track record of intervening and putting an end to nuisance noise in our neighbourhoods.

Mr Johal, 54, of Cheviot Road, Langley, was convicted after a week long trial brought in 2010 by the Environment Agency for running an illegal waste operation.  The Court concluded that the operation was having a serious impact on local residents living within ten metres of the site.  Johal was given a two-year community order at Reading Crown Court.

While local councillors were quick to echo public sentiment they were powerless to act.

johal front

Most recently the Environment Agency made a successful application for confiscation of Mr Johal’s assets.  In July 2011 Mr Johal was ordered to pay the sum of £881,513 within six months or serve five years imprisonment.   The award was the largest ever under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 but had been reduced when Mr Johal pleaded financial difficulty.

But the site, operated most recently as Slough Scrap Metals Ltd, may not be gone for good.  In January 2012 Johal submitted a further application (P/12720/008) relating to fulfilling an obligation under his planning permission, indicating his intention still to develop the site as a legal scrapyard.

No registration of a transfer of ownership has yet been made with the Land Registry.

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