QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|BRYANT HOMES LIMITED||(CLAIMANT)|
|FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR J STRACHAN (instructed by Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"The developer has failed to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that the relationship of the development to the nearby existing industrial estate will not result in a serious loss of amenity to future residents as a result of noise generated from existing industrial users."
"After due assessment of the general suitability of the site for residential development, including affordable housing, I consider the main issues in the case to be:
Car parking provision and road safety within the proposed development and along the access road, and.
The impact on the development of noise from adjacent commercial premises and the effectiveness and suitability of the proposals, as amended, for sound attenuation."
"The current appeal site comprises only the former lairage fields, lying between the rear of residential properties fronting West Road and factories to the north and east. On the basis of a recent Urban Capacity Study, the Council remain satisfied that the sustainable urban location of the land, within the village settlement surrounded by Green Belt, makes it suitable to address an identified need for mixed housing in Ponteland at the proposed density of 35 dwellings per hectare, notwithstanding that the site has not previously been developed for building. I have not seen evidence to question this assessment and, accordingly, I regard the appeal land as suitable in principle for residential development, both in terms of local planning provisions and with respect to PPG3."
"... as a most regrettable feature of the design. The appellants admit that the arrangement would not be ideal. In my opinion the concern, inconvenience and possible danger it would cause bring the scheme into conflict with national and local planning policy to protect road safety and the residential environment."
"At the Inquiry there was good agreement as to the sources and type of noise affecting the appeal site, and its calculated levels inside the proposed houses, both with windows open and closed. However there was marked dispute regarding the applicability of the available methodologies for assessing noise impact, not only between witnesses of acknowledged expertise in acoustics, but also between the national authorities they both quoted. I take all of the submitted material into account. I also bear in mind that, as agreed by both witnesses, the noise issue is not solely dependent on calculated sound levels, but is ultimately for subjective judgment based on commonsense in the particular case, informed by quantitive technical data."
"The agreed main sources of noise, affecting the proposed development are the fan at the Manners Meat building to the east, metallic clanging from the handling of street light columns at Tofco and the operation of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) engines at Ponteland Tool Hire, both to the north. These noises often occur at unsocial hours, especially early in the morning. I personally experienced some of them on my site visit and, judging also from the agreed sound levels, there can be no doubt that the proposed development would be subject to intrusive noise events likely to give rise to complaint due to low ambient noise, albeit low background levels further preclude the strict application of BS4142."
"In any event, on the agreed evidence, the noises would in reality be experienced at the calculated levels. These show that, with the proposed 5 m acoustic barrier in place along much of the northern and eastern site boundaries, and with acoustically designed double glazing and ventilation, acceptable internal sound levels would be achieved at all critical properties with windows closed. With windows open or ajar, it was further agreed, based on both experimentation by the appellants and WHO criteria, that acceptable levels would be exceeded to some degree in certain locations due to the Manners fan and Tofco light column noises. However, substantial exceedences would occur when HGV engines are revved at Ponteland Tool Hire."
"Judgment as to the acceptability of the noise climate at the appeal site thus turns on whether it is sufficient that the proposed boundary noise barrier and acoustic double glazing and ventilation could ensure good sleeping conditions according to BS8233 with all windows closed. It is certainly the case that urban land qualified under the lowest NEC A is scarce, and that in locations such as near railways acceptable internal acoustic conditions are dependent on closed windows."
"However, the appeal land is a comparatively quiet, rural village and in the example of railway noise, the sound builds predictably to a crescendo and then dies away. In the case of metal clangs and revving engines the onset of the noise would be sudden and more startling, even allowing for a degree of familiarity on the part of nearby residents. Moreover, subjective reaction is likely to be more kindly disposed towards unavoidable train noise, compared with individual Lmax consequent upon specific actions of individuals operators."
"Furthermore, once the acoustic barrier were in place, much general noise would be suppressed at individual properties and it seems possible that particular noise events might be more noticeable, depending on tone or frequency, even noting that BS8233 itself makes no such distinction within measured limits. In my opinion, the 5 m high acoustic barrier, although it could be maintained in good condition by management agreement, would itself act as a visually intrusive reminder of the closeness of noisy industry, especially before any landscape screening matured."
"I note that the general layout of the buildings has been chosen to take general account of neighbouring noise sources. However, there are openings between the buildings permitting a relatively direct sound path to some properties, and a lack of enclosed spaces, such as courtyards, whereby the need to close windows to achieve acceptable sleep conditions might be obviated."
"It must not be forgotten that the quality of the residential environment is also a matter for potential residents to consider, and that the prospect of interference with human rights is limited to those owning the current non-residential interests in the land. Nevertheless, on balanced consideration of all the foregoing factors, I have formed the opinion that the development proposed in this case would be over-dependent on closed windows, double glazing and ventilation, low in the hierarchy of available attenuation measures. Thus the design does not suitably address the conflict between the residential development and the adjacent industry due to noise, and fails to meet the requirements of relevant planning policy."
"Overall, having taken into account all other matters raised, I regard the unacceptable noise climate within the development as an overriding planning objection. The objection to the access adds further weight to the case against the scheme. For these reasons I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed."
"... notwithstanding that the site has not previously been developed for building."
"Over-dependent on closed windows double glazing and ventilation."
"The unacceptable noise climate within the development as an overriding planning objection."
"The planning considerations on which [the] decision is based were not explained sufficiently clearly to enable [the claimant] to assess the prospects of succeeding in an application for some alternative form of development."
"Further, the Inspector failed to take into account a material consideration, namely evidence that the proposed development would improve the noise climate at existing houses."