Washington homes proposed in light of noise dispute

Sketch of 41 homes proposed for Old Clayton Kennel site in Washington by David Wilson Homes - picture 3 SUS-140826-160215001
Sketch of 41 homes proposed for Old Clayton Kennel site in Washington by David Wilson Homes - picture 3 SUS-140826-160215001

A public meeting has seen an ‘outburst’ of opposition from residents and parish councillors over a new 41 home development proposal.

This week a Washington resident said ‘bombshells’ were dropped during a parish council meeting held earlier this month after a planning application for 41 homes was announced at the Old Clayton Kennels and Cattery site in Storrington Road.

This site lies adjacent to Millford Grange where 79 approved homes are currently under construction by developer David Wilson Homes.

The development originally faced resistance from the parish council, district council and residents, but was approved on appeal by the Planning Inspector.

Local resident Alan Murray attended the meeting, he said: “Fair’s fair, and so far, so good. That’s how the system works. But then a bombshell, or several bombshells, were dropped at a meeting of Washington Parish Council on August 18.

“The central reason given for this proposal was, plain and simple - noise.”

In July, a pre-consultation document on the 41 home plan was sent to hundreds of residents within the vicinity of the proposed site by developers Abingworth Strategic Limited.

The document stated: “With new homes being built next to Old Clayton Kennels, the future of the kennels themselves is at risk of noise complaints and the operator has decided to vacate the site and is considering relocation of the kennels elsewhere in the locality.”

At the parish meeting, a resident said the noise from the dogs at Old Clayton Kennels was a nuisance to the new Millford Grange residents.

However, in the Planning Inspectorate’s appeal decision document for the 79 homes, dated October 2012, the inspector states that although the owner of Old Clayton Kennels, Mrs Copp, raised concern that the noise and lights from the adjacent construction site would startle the dogs, causing them to make noise, the inspector did not see it as a problem.

In the report he states: “During my site visit, I listened carefully for the sound of barking dogs from the kennels, and I found it was only really noticeable in the adjacent part of the appeal site.

“The proposals include acoustic fencing along the boundary between the site and the kennels which should cut down the sound still further, and also reduce the level of noise reaching the kennels from the new houses.”

Mr Murray claimed that one of the planning conditions of the David Wilson Homes planning application was to raise screen walls or fences to help tackle the noise issue.

He said: “And yet (according to the Parish Councillor) no acoustic walls had been erected whatsoever – but, rather, trees had actually been pulled down. And the kennels owner has stated that four new Millford Grange residents have complained to her about the noise.”

Last week, a Washington Parish Council representative said that allowing a development for 41 homes on the kennel site and relocate the dogs is not the best was to resolve the noise issue.

The representative said: “Councillors were sympathetic to the plight of kennels owner Mrs Copp, but they felt that allowing 41 homes to be built there was not the right way to solve the problem.”

The County Times approached HDC, but did not receive a comment before going to print.