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Councillors have deferred an application to use a former Audlem farmhouse as a wedding venue until a noise assessment is done, writes Belinda Ryan.

Cheshire East planning officers had recommended the scheme at The Parkes, off Monks Lane, be approved.

But members of the southern planning committee were concerned about the possible impact on nearby residents, especially those at a nearby care home.

Objector David Sandford, who lives 230m from the site, told the committee today (February 9): “A noise assessment was requested by Hankelow Parish Council and was refused [by the council’s environmental health officer], one was requested by me and refused.

“The officer now accepts that there is going to be noise beyond the boundary, particularly when the windows are open.

“There’s going to be discos or bands for several hours up towards midnight.”

Katie Shoesmith, representing applicant Anthony Parker, said the scheme would provide a positive reuse of the existing building.

She said the original plans had been scaled back and the application is now a quarter of what was originally proposed.

“The applicant did take advice on the noise report and followed the advice of the officers in that there was no significant harm from noise, and so that was never taken by the applicant,” she said.

Planning officer Dan Evans said the environmental health officer had given his professional view regarding noise based on the factors in this location.

He said: “What we’ve got is quite an isolated site.

“It’s limited in terms of the number of guests to 60, the events are taking place indoors, you’ve got considerable separation distances to the neighbours…

“So on that basis it’s the council’s environmental health officer’s judgement that the impact, in terms of residential amenity, is acceptable.

“Clearly, there will be a requirement for a licence for the property and there will be a number of conditions within the licence should any noise issues arise if the developer was granted planning permission and became operational.

“Members of the public could report any breach of a licence and request a licence review and they could potentially lose their licence.”

But Shavington councillor David Marren (Ind) pointed out the Local Government Ombudsman had recently upheld a complaint against Cheshire East Council when it failed to deal with a noise complaint in Knutsford which had reportedly been going on for 11 years.

“The complainant had had to mortgage their property to pay for the fight against the council, which had effectively done nothing.

“The ombudsman found against the council, the council was completely wrong.

“So I’m not necessarily assured when we’re told that environmental health say don’t worry, it’ll be alright, there are processes you can go through.

“I do wonder why we say there’s no need for a noise assessment because I would have thought that was absolutely necessary.

“It’s not just because we’ve had one speaker request it, as I said we’ve only just in the last audit committee, had a maladministration finding about failure to deal with noise.

“I don’t know if I’ve got any support, but I’m going to propose deferral until there’s a noise assessment.”

Crewe councillor Joy Bratherton (Lab) said she had sympathy with the venue but the committee had to think about the nearby residents, and the care home wasn’t far away.

She added: “I know, as I’m sure all the members around this table know, how hard it is to get enforcement action taken anywhere in the borough.”

Cllr Allen Gage (Willaston and Rope, Con) also agreed the application should be deferred for an acoustic assessment and six councillors voted for deferral, three against and two abstained.

One Comment

  1. Mike Talbot says:

    You would have thought all this was thoroughly researched well before this, epic fail really as noise is quite a major issue at any time of day especially late into the night.
    Given full air conditioning why would windows be open?
    It is a shame that a venue has such limited commercial options as such but a good sound engineer would factor in better solutions

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