Councillors concerned over noise and size in Telford town centre homes plan
Planning permission for houses and flats on land near Telford Town Centre is one step closer, despite councillors’ concerns that some of the proposed homes are “too small” and a nearby supermarket will create late-night noise.
NuPlace Ltd, Telford & Wrekin Council’s wholly-owned housing company, applied to build 46 homes on land west of Southwater Way, opposite the Asda store.
The borough’s planning committee voted 6-3 to give officers the power to negotiate final conditions then grant permission, but Councillor Ian Fletcher said less than a third of the proposed homes met space standards, and that the council should not allow “little boxes” to be built.
Councillor Kuldip Sahota, whose ward includes the two-and-a-half acre site, said the supermarket giant had already covered itself against complaints by submitting a noise report of its own and objecting to the development.
Planning service manager Valerie Hulme told him the properties will be council-controlled, so tenants could be relocated if they are unhappy there.
A report by planning officers said the 36 houses and 10 flats will all be offered for rent, with 11 homes designated as affordable housing. Financial contributions of £240,000 or more, including £144,000 towards local schools, would be provided by NuPlace.
A noise report, commissioned on behalf of NuPlace from Noise.co.uk, said night-time field work found there would be a “quantifiable impact” on new residents, so “noise mitigation will be required”.
Planning Service Delivery Manager Valerie Hulme said this could be achieved through the physical layout of homes on the site and the materials used, especially in the windows.
“There is an acceptable solution, it just needs confirming what the specifics are,” she said.
“We’re asking for members to delegate that to officers to consider.”
Councillor Sahota, who represents Malinslee and Dawley Bank, pointed out that Asda Stores Ltd had objected and commissioned its own assessment from Acoustic Consultancy Partnership Ltd. That concluded: “The continued 24-hour use of the Asda service yard, the home shopping operation and the fixed installations are essential to the store’s ongoing viability.
“This should not be put at risk by the introduction nearby dwellings with inadequate acoustic design.
“Asda would not be expected to accept any future noise abatement action associated with established existing activity.”
Councillor Sahota said: “What they’re really saying is that if, in the future, there are noise issues, ‘Don’t blame us, guv’nor’. They’re pre-empting the complaint.
“When it’s all done and occupied, and I’m the local councillor and residents come to me and say ‘Can you do something about that noise? Trucks are going in and out’, what am I supposed to do then? What can the council do?”
Ms Hulme said: “The applicant is NuPlace, it is actually rented accommodation that’s in our control, so there’s the opportunity if somebody is being that harshly disturbed for them to be relocated, perhaps.”
She also pointed out Asda Stores had itself applied for outline residential planning permission on the site in 2009. This was granted but not pursued further.
Councillor Fletcher said a council planning policy required newly-built homes to comply with “Nationally-Described Space Standards” but, under the blueprints submitted, “only 30 per cent of the properties on this development do”.
He added: “Surprise surprise, the applicant is playing the ‘viability card’, saying it can’t do it.
“By approving this application, this council is allowing small little boxes to be built. I don’t think that we, as a council, should have a policy and then conveniently say ‘Oh, they can’t make it work so we’ll let them off’.”