CHILDREN have been banned from playing in part of a nursery’s play area over claims debris is falling there from the scrapyard next door.

Second Steps nursery has now fenced off part of its play area to keep youngsters away from the boundary with Mackers Metals yard in Laindon.

The nursery is also joining more than 400 residents campaigning against expansion plans by the scrapmerchant and car crushing company, based in Durham Road, Laindon.

The company has applied for permission to expand into handling recyclable materials on the site.

Nursery manager Lorraine Griffith said she feared the problem could get worse if the company was allowed to broaden its operations.

She explained: “It’s very noisy and some children get frightened.

Parents complain all the time.

“A lot of debris falls in between our fences and I won’t be surprised if more came over if the plans were approved, “It could be very hazardous for us to be in the garden.

“We might have to look at extending the fence boundary and reducing the size of the garden.

Some children would have to come inside as they wouldn’t be able to play there.”

The application is Mackers Metals’ second bid for permission to recycle metals, cardboard, plastics, hardcore, cans, textiles and other materials at its site.

Essex County Council refused a similar application in February last year, and an appeal against the decision was thrown out last October.

Stay and Play, another preschool which is based opposite the scrapyard, in Durham Road, is also objecting to the plans.

John Scarola, Labour councillor for Laindon Park, which includes the site, said: “This petition shows residents are totally against the plans.

“It would be unsafe for children and what they seem to be forgetting is residents go down Durham Road. This will cause chaos.

“Laindon seems to be a dumping ground for everything.”

Dovetail Architects, which has put in the application for Mackers, denies the proposals would make things worse.

It says if it gets permission, the scrapyard will no longer break cars and will only use a small forklift to move materials, reducing noise.

However, about 400 enraged residents have signed a petition opposing the proposals, while 100 more are sending letters of objection to Essex County Council, which has the final say on the issue.

The closing date for comments on the application is today.

ARCHITECTS behind plans for a scrap yard to become a recycling centre said have defended their proposals which they say will benefit the community.

Dovetail Architects said materials will be hand-sorted in an acoustic enclosure and not stored at height.

There would be less traffic than current levels, and that skips were covered by netting to prevent spillage.

Jade Semple from Dovetail said the scrap yard was there before the nursery.

She added: “The area generally comprises of vehicle servicing units, MOT centres, builders yards and trade units. The existing and proposed use would generally be sited in areas such as these.

“We have been surprised with the feedback received to date from residents as the scheme is seeking to implement a quieter business and process to reduce noise disturbance. If the planning application is refused then the existing lawful use will continue. The intervention from the residents may result in the existing car dismantling and decommissioning use on this site remaining for the foreseeable future.”