Enterprise Rent-A-Car plans to demolish some of the buildings at the former Travis Perkins site at 58-60 Beaconsfield Road, Brighton, and put in a car wash bay for rental vehicles.
Neighbours protested against the application outside Hove Town Hall before addressing Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee yesterday (Wednesday 1 November).
They formed a group to fight the proposals and tried to lease the land themselves and sent the council more than 160 objections to Enterprise’s plans.
Springfield Road resident Lucy Duckworth said that neighbours were concerned about loss of privacy, light pollution, fumes from vehicles and a decrease in their quality of life seven days a week.
She told the planning committee that there was a low wall between the site and the back gardens of homes in Springfield Road which compromised safety.
And three wildlife ponds within 50 yards of the site were also not taken into account, she added.
After councillors made their decision, Ms Duckworth said: “Councillors spoke for residents when they said they would rather have a car rental than a builders yard at the back of their gardens, without consulting those who actually have those back gardens or discussing alternative proposals.
“It was unbearable to listen to this debate by people for whom this decision will have little consequence and not be able to comment.”
Brzn Arms sales director Aleks Levente said that Enterprise had a fleet of 700 cars in the city and the fleet would be constantly coming in and out of the site.
He said that there were two other car and van rental businesses in the area which neighbours told him generated a lot of noise.
Outside the meeting Mr Levente said: “While I’m disappointed in the decision, I hope that Enterprise do something entirely uncharacteristic, given their behaviour over the consultation period, and actually engage with myself and the community.”
Green councillor Raphael Hill, who represents Roundhill ward, spoke in support of residents by raising concerns about the effect of noise from car movements, as well as the impact on wildlife.
Councillor Hill said: “Noise from moving and parked vehicles will be happening directly next to residents’ gardens. This will be affecting residents’ quality of life every single morning, from 8am on weekdays.
“Previously Travis Perkins was not open on Sundays and only partly open on Saturdays so that represents a considerable additional disturbance to residents compared to the prior use of the site.”
Planning consultant Chris Dodds, for Enterprise, said that the company understood and had addressed the concerns raised by neighbours.
He said: “The proposal complies with the city’s development plan policies and with national policy around each and all technical matters that have been raised.
“We also highlight that positive weight is given to the release of brownfield land and supporting economic growth and investment, both of which apply here.”
Mr Dodds said that the jet wash and vacuum cleaner would only be used for two minutes at a time and cumulatively no more than 60 minutes a day.
He told councillors that a two-metre fence was already planned for the area with the low wall.
Opening hours would be 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and 10am to 5pm on Sundays.
Conservative councillor Carol Theobald said: “There are unsightly buildings there and there will be an improvement. And then you’ve got the fencing.
“The hours look moderate and if there was a builder’s yard there, you’d have all the lorries going in and out, so all in all, when you weigh things up, I haven’t got a problem.”
Labour councillor Julie Cattell said that she knew the site well and added: “It’s not going to cause as much noise and disturbance as people think, given the previous use.
“The noise, the scaffolding poles and cranes lifting things up – this is completely low level compared to Travis Perkins.
“I’m guessing, when they open this up, they’ll be using brand new cars which are far less polluting than old cars might be.”
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This notice was published: 2023-11-03 11:10:00