WATTON: Erection of 31 Residential Units (18 Flats & 13 Houses, Estate Road, Parking Areas & Open Space) at Plaswood, Griston Road : Applicant: Serruys Property Company Ltd : Reference: 3PL/2012/0503/O - DEFERRED ITEM
Report of the Director of Commissioning.
The application had been deferred from the Planning Committee held on 3 September in order to conduct a site inspection which took place on 28 September 2012 to assess the proposal in further detail. The Principal Planning Officer gave a brief overview of the outline application.
Mr McCarthy, Objector, stated that as the meeting of Watton Town Council had not been quorate they had not approved the application. He did not believe that the site visit revealed a true reflection of noise, given that the factory had closed at 12 noon on that day.
Mr Watling, Supporter, was a resident of Field Maple Road and walked passed the proposed development six times a day. In six years he had never seen 24 hour working and had no recollection of work being undertaken on an evening or on a Sunday, although occasional work did take place on Saturday mornings. Friends who resided in Cherry Tree Close and Whitebeam Close had heard nothing from the factory. He believed the nearest plant/machinery would be 85’ from the boundary of the proposed development. Children played on the derelict site which was an area residents understood would be developed. They were sick of the derelict site and the terrible view they had to look out on, and felt that the whole area would be enhanced if it was developed.
Mrs Surridge, Objector, was disappointed that they had not been made aware of the date of the site visit although there had been someone present from the developer. The site visit should have been undertaken when the factory was fully operational and not when it was closed. The proposal would have a detrimental effect on the site which had the ability to work 24 hours a day.
Mr McCarthy stated that it was incorrect to state that plant/machinery was 85’ from the proposed development, as it was more appropriate to say it was 30’ to the nearest machine which was not outside. Complaints had been received from residents in Field Maple Road.
Mrs Shelley, Agent, stated that they had received responses that Watton Town Council had not objected. Continuous noise assessments had been carried out which were consistent representations of the noise levels Members heard whilst on their site visit, and were similar to those emitted from the premises at other times. The scheme had been designed so the flats were positioned away from WECO. They had worked closely with Officers to tidy up the derelict site, provide open space and not create a noisy environment for residents and noise bunding would be provided to protect all residents of the area. If the site was not approved, it could go back to B2 engineering.
Mr Wassell, Ward Representative, stated the some residents of Wild Cherry Close had contacted him as they were concerned with the derelict nature and size of the structures, also vandalism had reduced the enjoyment of their homes. The proposal would be a welcome addition and provide much needed homes for people of Watton and provide relief for residents of the area from the current blot on the landscape.
In answer to concerns raised by a Member with regard to mitigation measures and how much of a guarantee would there be that the bund would work, Ruth Ellerby, Senior Environmental Health Officer explained that they had looked at the report of the Noise Consultant and used the worst case scenario from the continuous monitoring. She added that the orientation of most of the properties’ habitable rooms faced away from the WECO site. The bund was positioned in the best place.
A Committee Member was concerned at the loss of B2 development land but had been assured that there was other B2 development land available in Watton. 24 hour operation was a serious consideration given that WECO had permission to work 24/7. He too had concerns with regard to the bund and felt that firm assurances had not been provided with regard to it.
At the site visit, Members did hear an element of noise even when WECO were closing down. On entering the derelict buildings the noise level was appreciably lower than outside and a Member felt that noise levels in the proposed development would be more than acceptable.
RESOLVED, that the application be deferred and the Officers be authorised to approve it as recommended on completion of the legal agreement.