Steel fabrication at former dairy rejected

The use of a former milk storage and delivery yard in Cheshire for steel fabrication had an unacceptable impact on the amenity of local residents with an inspector placing weight on video clips recorded by local residents on their mobile phones which demonstrated that there was a clear tonality and impulsivity in the noise events.

The use had already commenced and the appellant stated that the firm manufactured steel platforms and products in the car, rail and construction industries. The council agreed that the use fell within Class B2 and argued that the operations adversely affected the amenity of residents due to noise and disturbance, a point disputed by the appellant who asserted that average noise levels at the nearest dwellings were between 41dB and 44 db.

These levels however, included various corrections relating to distance and an intervening fence the inspector noted and in his view were excessive. His own observations suggested that noise form the building would be via sources from walls, doors and the roof given the limited insulation offered by the corrugated asbestos roof and single thickness metal walls. After allowing for the tonality and impulsivity of the noise he estimated that the noise levels at the nearest properties were likely yo bet between 54db and 57dB which was well above background levels which would be adverse during the week and significantly adverse on Saturdays.

The appellant had provided a noise management plan but the noise controls, monitoring and complaints procedures were not sufficiently precise and enforceable to provide the necessary degree of certainty, the inspector held. There was no doubt that internal insulation would lead to a significant reduction in external noise levels but the inspector stated that a specific scheme had not been designed. Nor had details been provided as to the potential to upgrade the boundary fencing to provide a more effective noise barrier. The ability of an unrestricted Class B8 use being resumed did not in his opinion outweigh the harm to residential amenity.

Inspector: Gareth Wildgoose; Hearing

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