Rubble crusher noise would intrude on park tranquility

The crushing and grading of demolition waste have been refused at a builder's yard in south Wales as harmful to the living conditions of adjoining residential occupiers and users of a nearby park.

The appeal site was a large builder’s yard containing various buildings and extensive outside storage of equipment, machinery and construction material. The inspector noted there was potential for noisy activities within and around the site already, such as from vehicle and machinery maintenance and repair, and a joinery workshop as well as from the busy roads nearby. He also noted the crushing activities had been taking place for some time and had led to complaints to the council from local residents since 2017 which instigated an enforcement investigation which had been held in abeyance pending the outcome of the appeal. 

Having heard the crusher in operation at his site visit, the inspector considered that the deep, juddering noise of the crushing action was particularly distinctive compared to other noise disturbance at the site and felt the noise assessment submitted with the scheme did not take this into fully into account. He felt the juddering noise appeared to resonate within the wooded park near the site, was intrusive and discordant with the sense of tranquillity there. The inspector specifically referred to Planning Policy Wales, Edition 10, which identified the need to consider the effect of noise generating development on tranquil spaces that provide important green infrastructure for local residents. He also held the crushing noise was disruptive to the level of amenity that adjoining local residents could reasonably expect to enjoy, notwithstanding the mixed-use character of the area, through noise and dust disturbance and through local air pollution from increased lorry movements. The inspector concluded the benefits of the scheme, which included the recycling of building rubble to provided aggregate and the contribution of the company to the local economy through employing 96 workers, were not sufficient to outweigh the amenity harms he had identified.

Inspector: Hywel Wyn Jones; Written representations

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