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Agenda item



The Chairman and Councillors Bartlett, Perry and Round stated that they had been lobbied.


The Committee considered the report and the urgent update report of the Head of Planning and Development.


During the presentation on the application, the Major Projects Manager advised the Committee that the Chairman had requested and been provided with a note setting out the procedures that exist in relation to construction noise complaints.  The note also suggested to the Chairman that clarity should be provided via the Council’s website (and any other literature that may be produced to guide residents) as to what the procedures are so that residents are aware of the process.  In addition, the published Environmental Code of Development Practice, which offers guidance on what are considered to be acceptable working practices, should also be readily accessible to the public and developers via the website.


Mr Bowden, an objector, and Councillor Buller of Staplehurst Parish Council addressed the meeting.


Due to the close proximity of her property to the site, Councillor Brice made representations in her capacity as Ward Member and then left the room when the application was discussed.


Contrary to the recommendation of the Head of Planning and Development, the Committee agreed that permission be refused and that condition 20 attached to the outline planning consent be retained in an un-amended form.  In making this decision, Members felt that the condition restricting working hours of construction was intended to preserve the amenities of the occupiers of surrounding properties.  This did not just relate to noise nuisance, it related to wider amenity considerations.


The Committee’s objection to the amendment or removal of condition 20 was on the grounds that sole reliance on the Environmental Protection regime would be ineffective other than in the case of excessive site noise which may equally occur during and outside the currently permitted hours of work.  The site has already been the source of breaches and nuisance relating to noise and disturbance.  Retention of the condition would provide certainty to local residents as to when their amenity would be protected.  Excessive noise and other disturbances both during and outside of these hours could still be dealt with under, for example, the Environmental Protection Act 1990.


RESOLVED:  That permission be refused and condition 20 attached to the outline planning consent reference 14/502010/OUT be retained for the following reason:


The extended hours of working above those already permitted would result in a loss of amenity to neighbouring residents due to extended activity and disturbance, contrary to Policy DM1 of the Maidstone Borough Local Plan 2017.


Voting:  12 – For  0 – Against  0 – Abstentions


Arising from consideration of this application, and in line with the note provided for the Chairman, it was




1.  That clarity be provided for residents who may be affected by noise at construction sites that the following process exists:


As a general point, developers are encouraged to openly engage with the local community in relation to the neighbourly operation of construction sites including early engagement, preferably in advance of works commencing. 


Neighbours are encouraged to raise concerns with developers first in the hope that mutual resolution can be achieved.  Where this is not possible or is ineffective, residents should contact the Council and the following process will be followed:


·  Complaints relating to noise at construction sites should be made to the Council’s Community Protection Team (CPT) (not the Planning Department);


·  Residents are asked to complete a diary in order that the CPT can assess whether there is a need for further investigation;


·  Relevant facts that should be recorded on the diary include the source and type of noise, its frequency and duration;


·  Where necessary Officers of the CPT may attend the site unannounced to witness any breaches;


·  If there is judged to be a noise nuisance the CPT will advise the developer of the need to follow the British Standard 5228 “Noise and Vibration Control on Construction and Open Sites”;


·  If, despite warnings, the nuisance persists, the Council will consider whether more formal action should be taken.  Legal options include the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, Environmental Protection Act 1990 S79/80, and Control of Pollution Act 1974 S60; and


·  The CPT currently uses measures available through the Environmental Protection Act and Community Protection Notices.  The Act allows for ‘abatement notices’ to be served which can require, for example, the abatement of the nuisance, or prohibiting or restricting its occurrence or recurrence, or requiring the works causing the nuisance to stop. The notice would also specify the time or times within which the requirements of the notice are to be complied with.


2.  That the Council’s website and/or other information sources should be updated to ensure that this information is easily accessible to the public.


3.  That the published Environmental Code of Development Practice’, which offers guidance on what are considered to be acceptable working practices, should also be readily accessible to the public (and developers) via the website.


4.  That the Head of Planning and Development be requested to assess whether it would be appropriate to add informatives to relevant planning decisions advising developers of the Environmental Code of Development Practice’.


Voting:  12 – For  0 – Against  0 - Abstentions


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