We live next to a giant TYRE MOUNTAIN… we’re terrified it’s going to turn into a towering inferno | The Sun

OUTRAGED residents have slammed a multi millionaire who dumped over 500,000 old car tyres in their village.

The giant rubber mountain has wreaked havoc as more than 300 locals fear they will die from a "huge poisonous cloud" should there be a fire.

Councillors are furious at businessman Richard Gawn, who has ignored environmental requests and "broken a lot of promises."

Mr Gawn began storing the massive hoard of old tyres less than 500 metres away from the people living in Wicken Green, Norfolk more than 20 years ago at the site near Fakeham.

One terrified resident told The Sun Online: "It’s dreadful having to live so close to that huge pile of rubber.

"If it ever caught fire we would have to flee our homes – our village would be covered by a huge poisonous cloud.

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“The owner was forced to make firebreaks in the dump but that would do little to help us if it caught fire.”

Another frustrated neighbour said: "Mr Gawn apparently was granted permission to buy the site in 2009 on the grounds that he would clear it quickly.

"But he hasn’t done that and it remains an environmental hazard.”

North Norfolk District Council originally issued the multi-millionaire with a planning enforcement order six years ago.

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Yet around 5,000 tonnes of old rubber remains on the site.

Somebody who lives close to the site, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Eastern Daily Press: “It was because he promised to clear the site quickly, which he understood would cost him money, that Mr Gawn was allowed to buy it in 2009 and given all the licences to process the tyres.

“But he hasn’t done that, and it’s been an environmental hazard for years while he’s run rings around the council.

“So because of the council’s ineffectiveness this gentleman who has broken a lot of promises to improve the site will save the money he would have had to pay to keep his promises.

“Instead he’s making all this money from oil prices while the rest of us are struggling to afford petrol in our cars.”

However council officials have voiced their outrage at Mr Gawn.

If it ever caught fire we would have to flee our homes – our village would be covered by a huge poisonous cloud."

Mark White, a local councillor and organiser, told The Sun Online: "The tyre mountain is a serious risk to our safety.

"If they caught fire it would be the biggest environmental disaster East Anglia had ever seen.

Councillor White explained they live less than half a mile away from the enormous tyre mounds.

“The market for old rubber has apparently changed and prices have gone up considerably," he added.

"Mr Gawn said he will be paid more than £100,000 for the used rubber on the site – so instead of having to pay £150,000 to have the tyres moved," he continued.

Local county councillor Tom Fitzpatrick said: "Everybody is hoping that the problems at the site will be cleared up and soon.

"It does pose a serious health and safety risk to people living in the area but negotiating to get the matter resolved has proved very difficult and time-consuming.”


But these concerns do not seem to be heard by Mr Gawn – who plans to build a giant TV film studio on the site after he flogs the tyres.

He even hopes to attract programme makers such as Netflix, as documented in plans he shared with the council.

The businessman said: "Two months ago we had to pay £700 per container to take them away but now we can get £500 for a container of old tyres.

“They have a high calorific value and because the price of oil is so high perversely it puts up the price of old tyres which have been a fuel source for years.

"These tyres will be moved through the proper environment channels”

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It is understood Mr Gawn will be held accountable at a meeting next week in which he will be told to remove the tyres immediately.

If these instructions are also ignored by the businessman, the council will reportedly launch legal action against him.

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