DC Casebook: Mixed use development - Noise concerns overruled at creamery

An inspector has decided that a mixed-use scheme comprising 12 business units and 13 homes is acceptable next to a creamery in Shropshire subject to conditions requiring noise insulation and acoustic fencing.

Part of the site had been a bus depot and it was allocated for employment in the local plan. The proposal envisaged about half the land being developed for employment use and the remainder for housing. The inspector considered that a number of matters outweighed the conflict with the local plan designation.

He found that the scheme would bring about a beneficial use of the vacant site and provide a significant amount of employment space, while small employment units would be most likely to attract occupiers and benefit the area. Any future employment use was very likely to create significantly more jobs than the five generated by the bus station, he calculated

The creamery operated 24 hours a day for seven days a week. Noise came from cold store fans, loading bays, use of the yard area and the occasional release of steam from pressure valves. The council was concerned that if homes were built next to the site, noise levels would result in unsatisfactory living conditions for residents and lead to complaints that might affect commercial operations.

The appellants proposed three noise mitigation measures. First, the homes would be sound insulated and have acoustically treated ventilation. The council objected on the grounds that the windows would have to be closed. However, the inspector remarked that they would not have to be fixed shut and potential occupiers could not fail to be aware of the adjoining factory.

Secondly, the appellants proposed an acoustic fence between 3m and 6m high along the boundary. The inspector decided that this would effectively mitigate noise in the yard area and loading bays. Thirdly, the office units would be built in advance to form a noise screen. The inspector found that this measure would be effective in reducing the noise of fans.

DCS Number 100-068-741

Inspector Phillip Ware; Inquiry.

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