Homes seen as potential threat to business use

The risks associated with more intensive use of adjoining business premises have led to rejection of plans for 38 homes on a site in Northamptonshire.

The appellant's noise and acoustic reports sought to demonstrate that adequate living conditions for future residents could be guaranteed with suitable mitigation. These assessments assumed that the existing industrial and commercial occupiers would remain unchanged and noise levels would not materially alter.

The local authority's largely uncontested evidence confirmed that the majority of the premises had unrestricted general industrial use and that there was no limit on hours of operation. Given the dynamic nature of commerce and industry, the inspector concluded that, over time, activities at the premises could alter, a view that was confirmed by two companies who made representations.

Since future noise levels were unknown, the inspector was unable to ascertain whether adequate mitigation could be provided. While agreeing that the benefits of providing 36 affordable homes and the absence of a five-year supply of housing land weighed in favour of the scheme, he concluded that noise risk and potential constraints on future industrial uses justified dismissal.

Inspector: Gareth Jones; Written representations

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