Penwortham Pizzeria Granted Clearance for New Development Amid Noise Complaints

Wayne Bretherton, who opened Craft and Crust almost two years ago, told a South Ribble Borough Council planning committee meeting that whatever he tried was “never enough – or new problems suddenly arise “.

Advisers questioned whether he should receive retrospective clearance for a revised development at the Liverpool Road site after it was put in place differently from the approved plans. The company opened with a larger bar than the one initially offered and only 68 seats, compared to the 101 initially planned.

Three objections were filed to the regularization of the changes – including one of the residents of an apartment near the restaurant who said the changed floor plan had an unacceptable impact, the noise preventing them from enjoying their home and affecting their well-being from the day the premises open in December 2019.

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Committee members faced a litany of complaints about various sources of noise, including “people talking, walking, noise from moving equipment and furniture.”

However, Mr Bretherton told them there was only one apartment whose occupants had “tirelessly complained” about the noise generated by the business – even when it was operating as a sales department. only take out during lockdown.

“We have worked with professionalism and respect in doing everything possible to find an outcome that benefits the plaintiffs, including even offering to buy the property at fair market value.

“I spent over £ 4000 on counseling fees [and on] acoustic equipment and measurements – and while that satisfies your specialist officers, it is still not sufficient for the complainant, ”said Bretherton, who added that there was“ no doubt that the human noise would be much larger in the original [plans]”.

However, Howick and Priory city councilor David Howarth said residents he had spoken to about noise issues – who had not been able to attend the meeting – felt they were “not particularly listened to. “.

“What seems to be acceptable background noise when you are sitting eating pizza with friends, is not necessarily acceptable background noise when you are sitting upstairs watching TV and that the noise is generated by the ground floor, ”says Clr Howarth.

He added that the committee had been put in an impossible position by the failure to implement the initially approved plans.

“If you pass that request, you effectively send a message that says you can have a planning request and then go and do whatever you want – and come back a few years later and we’ll just accept it. .

“And then if you refuse it … you effectively close the premises, because then they would have to revert to the original [layout] despite all the investment that has gone into this area and the improvement that has been made to what was a lousy end of the district center. “

The authority’s environmental health department initially said it could not support the request for a review of the condition stipulating the development of the site, as this meant that the site was “primarily [being] used as a bar and not as a restaurant – and therefore higher sound levels are generated, ”including shouting from customers. Officers also noted that another condition requiring isolation was “not met.”

However, after reviewing a recent noise assessment, they concluded that the noise levels were “within the recommended target … for the restaurant space and no unreasonable disturbance is expected for adjacent residential spaces”. Environmental Health also said that since the place reopened to guests after the lockdown, it was once again functioning as a sit-down restaurant rather than a bar and added that the suggested insulation levels were acceptable.

The meeting heard from acoustics specialist Simon Webster who said a series of measures had been implemented, including “insulation cushions under tables to dampen noise from glass on tables, soft floors in the cellar to reduce the noise of the barrels …[and] rubber gaskets and soft closures on the doors ”.

Committee member Will Adams said “extended mitigations” had been put in place to deal with noise complaints.

“I think it’s a very well run business and I think it’s great for the community. I think… we should be supporting local businesses as much as possible after the last 18 months, ”added Cllr Adams.

His comments were echoed by other members and the modified layout was approved. However, a new condition has been imposed limiting the use of outdoor space on the site until 8 p.m. in order to ensure consistency with similar businesses nearby.

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