RESIDENTS fear plans to expand a scrapyard could turn their road into a lorry park and leave them living next door to a major fire hazard.
People living in Bedford Road, Laindon are so concerned over plans to expand the Mackers Metal scrapyard in Wrexham Road, they have now launched a petition opposing the plans.
Campaigners have also delivered leaflets to homes in the area outlining their safety fears.
The scrapyard currently has a licence to handle scrap metal and to brake cars.
It has now applied to Essex County Council to vary its licence to allow it to deal with paper and wood waste. The firm wants to build a small barn on its premises where it could manually sort through the timber and paper before it goes on to be recycled.
But the application has sparked fierce opposition from councillors and residents.
John Dornan , Laindon councillor and Basildon council's cabinet member for the environment, is fiercely opposing the plans.
He said the yard, which backs on to the rail line at Laindon and is near homes, will be a fire hazard.
Mr Dornan said: "The planning application says the yard will only have 30 to 60 vehicle movements a day but there will be far more than that.
"It's near to homes so it will be a health hazard, a fire hazard and every kind of hazard.
"And if a fire broke out it also backs on to the railway which could be catastrophic.
"It's in a cul-de-sac and will ruin the quality of businesses there.
"There is just no way we can allow this to happen."
Resident Bob Taylor, 65, of Bedford Road, Laindon, said: “If we get 30 lorries going there a day, that’s 60 vehicle movements in and out.
“This is only a small road, and it’s a bus route, and we’ll have even more lorries on top of those already dropping off scrap.
“This is only a small area and businesses like this should be on an industrial estate.”
Charlie McDermott, who has owned and managed Mackers Metals for four years, disputed that the plans - if given the go-ahead - will create a nightmare for residents.
He insisted that the paper and timber waste will be sorted by hand and lorries carrying the waste will be quieter than the ones currently delivering scrap metal to the yard.
He said: “This will be alot better for the residents as paper and timber is alot quieter to carry and deal with than iron.
“Also if the timber and paper does well then we will cut down the amount of scrap waste we deal in.
“The timber and paper will be sorted by hand in a barn so people won’t be able to see any of it.
“I really can’t see what people are complaining about as this will be better for them.”
Mr McDermott said his plans would double his workforce by creating five extra jobs.
The application will be determined by Essex County Council within the next 13 weeks.