Councillors delay decision on plans for 145 homes near Bristol due to noise problems

An artist’s impression of how the new homes in Yate could lookAn artist’s impression of how the new homes in Yate could look
An artist’s impression of how the new homes in Yate could look | Barratt Homes
Councillors fear complaints from the new residents about noise from a nearby sports centre

Councillors have delayed a decision on plans for 145 homes because they fear complaints from the new residents about noise from a nearby sports centre might cause problems – for the sports centre.

South Gloucestershire planning committee members agreed that the new houses in Ladden Garden Village could “restrict the ability” of Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC) to continue running loud events such as drone racing and wedding receptions, which could “undermine” its future.

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The much-cherished complex is run by a charity which is raising money for a second all-weather surface and already has the right to have live music in marquees next to the site’s boundary until 11pm, the meeting was told.

The housing would be part of the massive North Yate New Neighbourhood which was granted outline planning permission back in 2015 for 2,450 homes – a figure since reduced to 2,125 – along with two primary schools, employment land and a local centre.

Barratt Homes submitted detailed proposals for its final 145 properties for the giant estate, including 55 classed as affordable, on the southwestern edge just north of YOSC and next to homes in Long Croft.

Yate Town Council and six residents objected, while ward councillors said a high fence was needed to act as an acoustic barrier between the development and the sports club.

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The council’s planning and legal officers told the strategic sites delivery committee that the plans were acceptable and should be approved.

They said a condition requiring additional sections of fence to block noise was not a reasonable request because measures would already be put in place to protect householders from noise, including 2m garden walls to the buildings nearest YOSC, and that the visual impact of an extra barrier had not been assessed.

Cllr Chris Willmore (Lib Dem, Yate North) told the meeting on Thursday, July 6: “We remain deeply concerned that the noise attenuation measures are not adequate.

“I would ask you to impose a condition requiring a full acoustic barrier along the site boundary to YOSC so that we minimise the chance of environmental health nuisances, resulting in a curtailment of YOSC activities.”

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Senior planning officer Eileen Medlin said that homes were always planned to be next to the sports centre and that the closest properties would have side gables with no windows facing the site, so the buildings themselves would form a noise barrier.

Cllr Adrian Rush (Lib Dem, Chipping Sodbury & Cotswold Edge) said: “You cannot inhibit YOSC, it’s a regional facility.

“I’ve seen it happen where someone buys a house right next door to a church and then they moan about the bells, and no matter how much the developer puts warnings in on these houses there are going to be complaints.

“That is the nature of the beast. It’s people, and I’m afraid we can’t control people.

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“There should be an attenuation barrier along YOSC so it protects YOSC.

“It’s not necessarily the residents we’re talking about here, we have to protect YOSC, and unless the sound is deadened, it just restricts YOSC, and unless YOSC thrives we are in trouble in this district.

“The officers have got this slightly around the wrong way – they’re talking about protecting the houses.

“In reality what we’re talking about is protecting YOSC from complaints from the houses.

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“I’m fairly certain we’re going to get them and YOSC is going to be restricted.

“We’re not talking about protecting the houses from YOSC, we’re talking about YOSC being protected from the residents in these houses getting their act together and complaining about YOSC, not the other way around.”

The planning officer said a noise barrier was unnecessary.

“Noise has been assessed and mitigated with the design of these properties,” she said.

“The acoustic walls to the gardens are considered to be sufficient to mitigate noise.

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“There are many sports facilities that carry on in conjunction with residential development.

“There are tensions but the solution isn’t to put up an acoustic fence to which we don’t know the benefit or specification of the impact on landscape.”

Councillors unanimously agreed to a suggestion by major sites manager Eileen Paterson to defer the decision so officers could discuss the potential fence with Barratt Homes.

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