Change of use planning application
A new development in Amesbury included a block of flats with commercial units on the ground floor and a planning application was submitted for a change of use at one of the unoccupied units to allow it to be fitted out as a soft play centre. Wiltshire council had concerns about the level of noise generated from such a use, particularly with residential flats situated directly above the commercial unit.
We were contacted by the developer, Solstice Soft Play, and asked to provide a noise assessment as supporting information for the planning application. Since there are no specific guidelines for assessing this type of noise it was necessary to define an acceptable level of noise within the residential flats, assess likely noise levels generated in a soft play environment and quantify the current level of sound insulation within the building so that an assessment could be made. This work was commenced in 2015 and included a review of relevant guidance/other planning applications (in order to assist in deriving a suitable noise limit), noise predictions (for soft play activity and mechanical ventilation) and a review of information submitted to building control (pre-completion test report).
The initial assessment was submitted to the council based on assumptions about:
Following this, the council had further concerns including queries about the assumed noise levels and sound insulation and suggested that peak noise levels could be quite a bit higher. These concerns were addressed by reviewing the pre-completion test report which demonstrated a high level of sound insulation (between the unit and flats above) and by revising the assessment for maximum noise levels 15 dB higher than the previously assumed equivalent continuous noise level.
Solstice Soft Play were subsequently granted planning consented for the proposed change of use and although there were a number of conditions relating to noise attached to the decision notice, all points had been addressed within the assessment. The developer has confidence in discharging the noise conditions following our advice and is planning to move forward with the development once a suitable lease agreement is in place hopefully sometime in 2016.