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Noise concerns delay expansion of Somerset business park Bath City News

A decision on plans to expand one of Frome’s main employment sites has been pushed back to the summer to allow residents’ concerns about noise pollution to be addressed.

Rockhaven Developments Ltd. requested the construction of a new warehouse and 61 commercial units, arranged in nine blocks, on Malthouse Lane at the south end of Commerce Park in Frome, off the A361. Mendip District Council’s Planning Board met in Shepton Mallet on Wednesday evening (April 13) to discuss the proposals, which have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

But the board member eventually agreed by unanimous vote to postpone a decision for up to three months to allow more information to be revealed – in particular, which companies might move into the site. The new buildings (collectively dubbed the Malthouse Business Center) are planned to be constructed at the end of Cornbrash, near the existing bases of Primavera and Acheson & Acheson.

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The site is a short distance from existing residential properties on Compton Gardens and Croscombe Gardens, as well as the Bristol-Weymouth rail line. The nine blocks of business units will be arranged close to the existing junction with Cornbrash, with a roundabout or mini roundabout linking to the main warehouse at the south end of the site, which will be divided into two sections.

Thomas Hill, chairman of the Coalway Lane Residents’ Association, said the council would “let the local residents down” if permission for this latest project was granted. He said: “We have absolutely no details on the end users, and therefore it is impossible to determine the impact on neighboring properties.

“Remember this is the closest point to the business park from the residential area. We have experienced and continue to experience noise disturbance – we are currently working with the management company to resolve an issue.

(Image: David Brain Partnership)

“This is the clearest example yet of the planning team finding a tenuous reason to give the developer what they are asking for rather than protecting the residents you represent.” Councilor Adam Boyden, whose Frome College ward borders the site, said there was a balance to be struck between encouraging economic growth and protecting the well-being of local residents.

He said: “We need to support businesses and new jobs – there are a lot of businesses wanting to move to this site. We need to support sustainable employment close to Frome.

“However, the travel plan encourages car use only – it does not require bus service to the site or improved access to trails. This is a business compatible area only with the nearby residential area.

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“These uses are potentially not compatible – but at this time we don’t know. Nighttime vehicle movements cause a lot of disturbance at night – whether it’s reversing sirens, slamming doors or people talking.” Councilor Francis Hayden (who represents Cranmore, Doulting and Nunney ward between Frome and Shepton Mallet) added: “I think the residents here have a reasonable case of grievance – I think they’ve been sold a puppy, basically .

“Overall plans have identified this site for B1 use only [offices or light industry] – and 15 years later, comes another application that says: ‘we said that at the time, but we didn’t mean it and we’re going to change everything’. It’s a less than communal way of doing things.

“They are now trying to get the best of both worlds – they want a new app that will remove the restrictions, but they want to rely on the old app to get rid of any further liabilities in the area.” Commerce Park was granted planning permission by council in 2004, on the condition that all future applications (which would in turn develop different parts of the site) would come back to the planning council to ensure residents’ concerns were properly addressed. represented and processed. .

(Image: David Brain Partnership)

Planning officers tried to abolish this procedure in October 2019, arguing it caused delays and deterred businesses from coming to Frome, but it was overruled by councillors. Councilor Damon Hooton, who chairs the planning council, said there were “enough gray areas” over the proposals to put off a decision until more information came to light.

He said, “There’s not enough here for me to be comfortable making a decision one way or the other.” Following the board’s unanimous vote to postpone for up to three months, discussions will now take place between ward councillors, officers and the claimant, with plans due to return for public debate by mid-July.

MM. Boyden and Hooton are both standing for the Liberal Democrats in the local elections for the new Somerset unitary council on May 5, in the Frome North and Frome West divisions respectively.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-18 23:00:00

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