Expert Testimony and Complaint Resolution
Noise is the most common source of complaint received by Local Authorities. We have extensive experience of helping companies accused of causing noise nuisance, working proactively to resolve problems without involving the legal process where possible. Although it is always preferable and less expensive to negotiate disagreements, there are times when consensus is not achievable. In such cases our consultants are experienced in giving evidence in Court and at Planning Hearings / Inquiries, and Patrick Allen is a founding member of the Expert Witness Institute.
J D Wetherspoon pubs – throughout UK
Client: J D Wetherspoon plc
Architects: LBF, RDT, Canvas (and others)
Planning Consultants: Savills, Signet Planning (and Others)
Barristers: Landmark Chambers
Scope: We have enjoyed a long relationship with J D Wetherspoon that started when they only had 3 pubs and continues to this day as they approach 1000.
J D Wetherspoon specialize in converting large and often complicated buildings into pubs, which inevitably results in many complex planning issues. We have advised on the acoustic ramifications of conversions from many interesting old buildings including theatres, cinemas, churches, many of which have been listed. This places great constraints on what can be done to the building fabric.
Wherever possible we will resolve noise issues through the detailed design of the pubs or through negotiation with council officers. However, where agreement has not been possible we have provided expert testimony services in court and at planning inquiries throughout the UK.
Fast Food & Drive Through Restaurants – Planning Permission
Planning Consultants: Savills, Town Planning Services
Scope: We have advised on many fast food and drive through restaurants to assist clients with obtaining planning permission. Many of these sites are located close to existing dwellings and so can be controversial with residents. Our role has been to assess the noise impact on local residents, design mitigation where required and provide expert testimony at public inquiries.
Gypsy & Traveller Sites
Client: Bedford Borough Council
Barristers: Cornerstone Barristers
Scope: We have advised Bedford Borough Council on several Gypsy and Traveller sites to assist them with fulfilling their obligation to provide sites. Many of these sites are controversial with local residents and can be located close to noise sources. In the photo, these include industrial and retail sites, and road and rail links. Our role has been to assess the noise impact on the proposed sites, design mitigation where required and provide expert testimony at public inquiries.
Residential Tower – Central London
Client: Thinking Space
Architects: Stiff & Trevillion
Planning Consultants: Savills
Barristers: Landmark Chambers
Scope: To carry out an environmental noise assessment and acoustic design of the building envelope for a 16 story residential tower in Central London lying only 7m away from busy rail lines. We also presented expert evidence at the subsequent planning appeal, which was accepted by the Inspector and created important precedents for similar sites.
Hilton Hotel – Central London
Client: BDL Group plc
Architects: Jestico & Whiles
Scope: To investigate reported poor sound insulation across the moveable partitions between meeting rooms and conference areas in this new £28m luxury hotel. We carried out insulation tests (shown above) to identify the source of the problem, which was then rectified by the partition manufacturer before the hotel first opened for business.
Noise from night time loading – Sussex
Client: Sainsburys Stores/Noise Abatement Society
Scope : To identify noise control options to enable night loading operations to recommence at this store located close to residential properties. This is part of Cass Allen’s ongoing work with the Noise Abatement Society ‘Silent Approach’, which is designed to enable night-time deliveries to occur without disturbing residents.
Music disturbance from open air concerts – Milton Keynes
Scope: Milton Keynes council were keen to promote the use of Campbell Park for open air concerts but, as can be seen by the above photograph, there are dwellings very close to the stage area. In the wake of numerous complaints resulting from a UB40 concert held in the park, the council imposed strict music emission limits for future events. We were responsible for monitoring music levels in surrounding residential areas during several concerts promoted by Easternbreeze and feeding back this information to the mixing engineer, who was in control of music levels inside the park. Through close co-operation and rapid feedback of data we were able to ensure (and demonstrate through long-term noise logging equipment) that music emissions from the concerts complied with the council’s noise limits.
Music disturbance from a wedding marquee – Cambridge
Client: Cassalls Hotels
Scope: Hotel Felix in Cambridge is very popular as a wedding venue, but the proximity of the marquee to dwellings, as shown in the above picture, was resulting in complaints from local residents. This had resulted in the local council serving a noise abatement notice. We negotiated noise targets with the local council and carried out acoustic testing throughout the public entertainment areas.
As a result of the testing, a solution was found that protected the residents from noise without compromising the hotel’s ability to hold successful weddings. This involved moving some of the louder music events out of the marquee and into an adjacent acoustically treated area, which was controlled to the council’s satisfaction by an electronic music limiter. A side benefit of this solution was that entertainment levels inside the marquee were kept sufficiently low so that it provided a peaceful alternative to those guests who preferred this.
Environmental Noise – Manufacturing site, Suffolk
Client: Fleetwood Caravans Ltd
Scope: To investigate complaints made by residents living adjacent to the Fleetwood Caravans manufacturing site. The picture shows the view from the complainant’s bedroom window and the problematic dust extract equipment can clearly be seen. We carried out a BS4142 assessment, which validated the complaint, and then negotiated suitable noise targets with the Local Council who were threatening to serve a noise abatement notice.
We then project-managed going out to tender to three noise control hardware manufacturers and technically assessed the resultant bids. Remedial measures were installed to the dust extraction units and the situation resolved without the need for legal action by the local authority.
Noise from printing works – Bedfordshire
Client: Newnorth Print
Scope: The encroachment of new residential development close up to the boundary of an existing printing works had lead to noise complaints from the new residents and the serving of a noise abatement notice by the local council. We carried out noise surveys to establish cost-effective noise control solutions and negotiated appropriate noise targets with the local council, so that the amenity of residents was protected without imposing unrealistic cost burdens on our clients.
Care Home Development – Hertfordshire
Client: Dam Bolin
Architects: RDT Design / Aedifice
Planning Consultants: Pegasus Planning Group
Scope: To carry out survey and detailed acoustic design work on a large care home development that was located adjacent to a industrial unit and a busy road. Due to ongoing Council and third-party objections we needed to present evidence at a public hearing before planning permission was granted.
Gladedale Group – New Residential Development, Norfolk
Client: Gladedale plc
Architects: David Futter Architects
Planning Consultants: Marrons
Scope: To assess the feasibility of locating an infill residential development adjacent to industrial land and design the building envelope to achieve BS8233 standards inside the dwellings. We were able to demonstrate to the planning inspector that this was achievable through the layout of the development and use of high performance facade materials.
Mixed use Residential and Office scheme – Bow Wharf, London
Client: Marcol Group
Planning Consultants: DP9
Instructing Solicitors: Reed Smith LLP
Barristers: 2-3 Gray’s Inn Square
Scope: To advise on a new-build mixed use scheme on this historic canal frontage. The acoustic mitigation scheme required was complicated by noise breakout through the facade of the adjacent nightclub. Cass Allen carried out extensive surveys and then detailed acoustic design of the development facade. This data was then presented at the subsequent planning inquiry.
Texaco – Extension to operating hours, Bridgend
Client: Texaco UK
Planning Consultants: Broadway Malyan
Scope: We were appointed following the council’s refusal to permit extended opening hours at the site, due to fears regarding noise disturbance to local residents. Following long-term monitoring and computer modeling based on data measured at other Texaco sites, it was possible to demonstrate to the Inspector at appeal that the existing planning condition was unnecessarily restrictive. As a result, extended trading was permitted.