Sunday, August 23, 2009

Planning matters - the Old Steel Store, Albert Hill

Being a local councillor can be a frustrating business. Some issues can be dealt with quickly and efficiently, leaving residents happy. Other problems can drag on, however, causing frustration for all concerned.

This Wednesday is a case in point. The Council's Planning Committee will consider an application from Albert Hill Skip Hire Ltd to change the hours of operation of their business which at first sight seems to have little to do with me as a Haughton West Councillor - the factory is after all in Albert Hill. In fact, the operators of the site have been causing misery to local residents in Haughton West for years - you can see some of the history here.

Town Hall officers have done all they could to address the problem, and by changing the status of the operation in September 2007, the operators were brought under relevant environmental legislation, including set hours of operation. As the officers' report to the Committee on Wednesday makes clear, following continuing complaints from local residents and the ward councillors, the company have continued to flout the operating hours set. After an investigation by Environmental Health, the operators have no choice but to apply for the times to be varied.

Their proposal is that they be allowed to work 6am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 7am to 4pm on a Saturday and 8am to 12pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Not surprisdingly, the application has generated letters of objection from the Rockwell Pastures estate, which is most affected by the noise from the factory. The Skerne Valley, which is between the houses and the factory, can seem to magnify the echoing sound. The proposed hours are totally unacceptable. Helpfully the CPRe has also put in a strongly-worded letter.

I have done the same, and will be going along hopefully to speak on Wednesday.

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