Noise mitigation measures judged oppressive

Plans for 41 much-needed affordable homes on brownfield land on the edge of an industrial estate in a Welsh town failed when an inspector decided noise mitigation measures would create a poor living environment.

The appellant’s evidence satisfied the inspector of a need for, and shortfall in provision of, affordable housing which would not be addressed through the local plan in the short term, a significant factor weighing in favour of the proposed development. However, her conclusions on other main issues concerning sustainable travel; the living conditions of the future residents of the properties by virtue of noise; impact of on-street parking on the character and appearance of the area as well as pedestrian and highway safety were less favourable.

To address the effects of noise from the adjacent industrial estate, the appellant proposed acoustic fencing up to two metres high around the site and mechanical ventilation inside the houses with all windows permanently sealed shut. The council described the resultant dwellings as “acoustic prisons”, sealed from the outside world and behind high acoustic fences. The inspector acknowledged that the proposed mitigation measures would achieve the required internal and external noise levels, but held that the fence would be oppressive and isolate the development from the surrounding area and the need to seal shut every window would fail to create an appropriate living environment. She dismissed the appeal.  

Inspector: Nicola Gulley; Written representations

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