In areas of new residential development, how can existing businesses ensure that they are not adversely affected? Whilst most businesses would welcome the introduction of more local potential customers, there is often a concern that new housing may bring complaints from new residents about noise levels, and that local Councils might take action based on those complaints.
One nightclub in Bristol has seemingly avoided a situation that could have caused its closure.
Since 2014, the law has recognised the existence of an ‘easement’ to emit noise.
An easement is a right to do something over someone else’s land and traditionally would include a right to, for example:
- Use a right of way
- Install and use a water pipe
- Use and maintain a shared septic tank
However, there is no defined list as to what activities can be the subject of an easement and it is possible for new rights to be added to the list provided that they meet the legal requirements.
Whilst the right to make noise is not new, a nightclub in Bristol has been involved in the first case in which the grant of an easement has been made a planning condition.
The Bristol Post reports that Motion Nightclub, which had feared forced closure as a result of a new residential development in its vicinity, has been saved by a planning condition which is intended to ensure that the developer will grant it an easement so that it can continue to emit noise without complaint from new residents.
Whilst this may not be possible in every development, it is worth local businesses engaging with the planning process and making their concerns heard if there are any proposed developments that may adversely affect their business. By working with the local planning authority and the developer, it may be possible for any concerns to be alleviated by the use of planning conditions to ensure that the development can proceed without detriment to the business. Whilst the above example was in Bristol, the same could apply in Cornwall and Devon.
For more information and advice on planning issues please contact Ben Mitchell on 01566 772375. If you have concerns about nuisance noise levels please ask for our litigation team.