Friday, 10 January 2014

Developing Agreement Over Noise

Simon Perry

Principal Consultant - Acoustics

An article in the Evening Standard on January 7th outlined a consensus approach to reducing noise nuisance. The Ministry of Sound night club in Elephant & Castle has apparently come to an agreement with Englewood, the developers of a new 41 story tower (Eileen House) that will allow it to maintain its 24 hour music licence.
The introduction of new noise sensitive developments, such as residential properties, in an area with existing commercial or industrial noise sources inevitably comes with the risk that the new sensitive uses may result in a restriction in trade for the surrounding noise generating businesses.
The planning process in the UK, when appropriately applied, is designed to protect existing uses.  In cases such as this, during the planning process the developer must ensure that the proposed development does not present a risk of restriction in trade; as such mitigation of the existing noise sources should be undertaken by the developer.
To protect against any potential noise nuisance generated, the level of noise received in the proposed properties must be carefully controlled.  This can be achieved by noise control at source (e.g. upgrade to the building fabric or reduction in noise generated) and by careful design of the new development (layout and building fa├žade composition).
Englewood has agreed to the second approach with the Ministry of Sound. They are going to incorporate enhanced sound insulation in to the building facade and other noise reduction features such as ‘winter gardens’. This will mean that an existing business can continue to be successful and new residents will have an acceptable internal noise climate.
At Temple, we have often helped developers to monitor and manage their noise levels to help avoid potential nuisance occurring. We have also helped to ensure that new developments are suitably design to ensure acceptable internal noise levels are achieved. This usually involves helping the developers and local councils to understand the noise issues and the different mitigation options available. It is good to see other examples of where good communication helps avoid noise nuisance. We look forward to helping others to adopt this type of positive approach.

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