Dear fellow residents,
Re: Stagecoach Bus Depot site, Old Town, Swindon
If you have recently commented on the applications made by Stagecoach in respect to the Bus Depot site, you should have received notification from the planning department that these applications where due to go to committee this coming Tuesday (9th November). These applications have now been deferred and will not be discussed on the 9th.
“This is because there is insufficient time to consider the further clarifications that have been sought nor is there enough time for all parties to comment. All three applications will go before committee once we have the clarification required.” Tom Buxton, Planning Officer, SBC
This follows a meeting we on Friday 5th November with Swindon South MP Robert Buckland and the SBC Director of Planning and Transport Dave Potter. Robert stated that he backs the residents and brought about the question of the suitability of the site as a bus depot. Dave Potter responded to say that talks about alternative locations where ongoing with Stagecoach. We raised concerns about the noise assessment that Stagecoach submitted as a part of their applications and advised that we had instructed a noise expert to review and advise. Dave said that he had already instructed his officers to relook at everything to make sure that there was no doubt in their minds. We raised concerns that the committee meeting was taking place on the same day that the site notice expired and that the committee report had been written before all consultations had been received – which wouldn’t appear that residents representations where being fully taken into account. Lastly Dave advised that the issues around the online submissions have now been resolved (I have been telling SBC for at least SIX months now that there are problems with submitting comments online – and been told there are no problems – I thought I was going mad!)
During the course of yesterday, our specialist Adrian made contact with SBC Environmental Health – to get their ‘standard’ planning condition for proposed noise sources – which they advised was ‘10dB below background’ – when they found out that his query was in respect to the StageCoach Bus Depot site they got upset – as they feel we should have disclosed that fact upfront – oh dear !! (so ‘standard’ and ‘stagecoach’ aren’t the same ??) Adrian has reported back to me that there are a number of ‘issues’ with the report that Stagecoach submitted and SBC Environmental Team just signed off as being OK. I should have a draft of the report come Monday – if anyone would like to receive a copy please email and let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
So where previously SBC felt that they could ‘ignore’ comments submitted as part of the consultation period and recommend that permission be granted to the committee they are now having to re-look and justify. Finally maybe they get that this is a real issue for residents and not something that they can fob off in favour of big business (which the government had to help out – east coast trains – which would have otherwise bankrupted StageCoach).
If you haven’t already submitted your comments for these applications, it isn’t too late to do so … But I would urge that you do so as soon as possible now. The three being (along with some suggested objection points – and of course please add your own of how it affects you):
S/10/1392 – use of the jet wash
- The SBC “standard” planning condition for proposed noise sources is 10dB below background – the report makes no mention of this – and in fact promotes a 6.1dB above background as being acceptable.
- During the noise data collection period 19th – 23rd August, the Invincible music event was taking place in the Old Town Gardens, also the weather changed over that weekend and it became quite windy, neither of these factors reflected within the report – and are likely to have increased the background noise levels.
- The jet wash noise is quite distinctive and therefore a 5dB acoustic character penalty should be applied to this report – which would mean that as the jet wash is a distinct sound.
- From previous submissions, there are three different types of Jet Wash in-use on the site – the report makes no mention as to which Jet Wash was in use (according to the manufactures data these range from 75 to 86 dB at 1 meter from source)
- The supporting documents submitted by StageCoach try to justify the use of the jet wash and state that it is only used to clean the radiators and tires. This is not the actual case as the jet wash is being used to jet wash the buses and the general tarmac area around the bus wash / refuelling structure area.
- The report does not contain a BS4142 assessment for all of the hours requested
- The application doesn’t mention any noise mitigation measures to mitigate the obvious additional noise which would normally be expected of developers.
S/10/1541 – extension of the bus wash hours to 7.00 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday
- In addition to the relevant point from S/10/1392 above …
- The report fails to make any mention as to the additional noise that would arise from buses being stopped and started from using the static wash. This could easily give rise to 10 or more additonal starts of the engine, which according to the report reaches 75dB at the boundry. This will be during a period (22.00 – 23.00) when many people are trying to go to sleep – in 2000 and 2005 Enviromental Health Officers found these additional stopping/starting of engines to be unacceptable.
S/10/1542 – extension of the illumination of the bus wash hours to 7.00 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday
- This application should only be considered if S/10/1541 is granted.
- The bus wash illumination gives rise to additional light pollution around the site
Please send your comments to the planning officer Tom Buxton (email@example.com) – or alternatively you can now use their WORKING online facility (http://www.swindon.gov.uk/environment/planning/environment-planning-applications.htm) or course traditional mail (Planning Department, Swindon Borough Council, Wat Tyler House, Beckhamton Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH. When submitting your comments, please make sure you include the reference number.
Lastly, if you would like to be kept up to date, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.