Is construction yard plan too close to homes?

Beech Rise residents Dave Harvey and Heather Wood with a petition against Smiths Contruction relocating behind the road. EMN-200203-111152001Beech Rise residents Dave Harvey and Heather Wood with a petition against Smiths Contruction relocating behind the road. EMN-200203-111152001
Beech Rise residents Dave Harvey and Heather Wood with a petition against Smiths Contruction relocating behind the road. EMN-200203-111152001 | JPIMedia
Residents in a Sleaford street have raised a petition against a planning application to relocate a growing local construction firm to a site next to their homes.

The plan put forward by developer Melbourne Holdings on behalf of Smith Construction of Heckington would see the firm move its head office, storage building, machinery yard and plant hire business from Heckington Business Park, which it has outgrown, to a plot at the end of Pride Parkway on Sleaford Enterprise Park.

The site backs up to Beech Rise and some of the closest residents are concerned about noise and diesel fumes from maneouvring plant machinery, as well as loss of light by a proposed four metre high earth bank designed to screen the site.

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Heather Wood has written to object, and David Harvey has gathered a petition of 18 signatures from neighbours unhappy if the move is given the go-ahead by North Kesteven District Council.

Mr Harvey accepts the land is designated for employment, but argued there needed to be more consideration for neighbours as the applicant’s own surveys have revealed noise levels could be high. “It seems the machinery would be stored closest to our houses,” he said.

An NKDC spokesman says officers had identified noise as an issue: “We are awaiting further information from the applicant in respect of their proposals for noise attenuation, given the proximity of nearby residential properties. They have until the end of the month to provide additional information. We will seek to work with the applicant in the interest of finding a resolution to the concerns of residents, but ultimately the decision is dependent upon this further response.“

Town Councillor James Thomas has spoken to residents concerned and said: “I do share residents’ concerns that the site is very close to homes and there will be, as the planning application admits, a detrimental impact on sound. The proposed 4m acoustic fence may well go some way to dampening the impact, but it doesn’t do much to mitigate the fact that the site directly abuts neighbouring gardens and impedes amenity.”

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He suggested a strip of tree planted land as a ‘buffer zone’ to shield the homes.

The applicant’s documents state 20-25 staff would use the offices and there would be 36 parking spaces for staff and visitors with eight spaces for the plant hire business.

They say Smith Construction is looking to expand its business including workforce and provide local employment opportunities. They claim the plans would fit in well on the enterprise park, adding: “If approved this will enable Smith Construction to move out of the village of Heckington which vehicles have to access to get to the main trunk roads.”

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