A planning inspector has allowed an Evercreech haulage company to continue operating lorries in and out of the site round the clock – despite complaints from long-suffering residents living nearby.
Planning inspector Vincent Maher heard evidence from both the company and concerned neighbours when he presided over an informal hearing in August in a bid to settle the long on-going impasse at the Peter Green Haulage site on the Leighton Lane Industrial Estate in Evercreech.
Fed-up residents living near the site have complained for years about noise problems from refrigerated lorries, parked overnight with engines running, disturbing their peace and quiet.
While lorries with electric hook-up facilities can link up to the company's on-site equipment to keep their loads chilled silently, other lorries without hook-up facilities park up all night with engines running to keep their on-board refrigerators going.
The problems are compounded as an acoustic fence and high bund round the site, to shield residents from noise, has never been completed.
Bristol Water argues it needs access to the site through the fence and bund as a major water main runs through it.
Peter Green Haulage appealed against Mendip District Council's refusal to allow it to vary conditions on its original planning permission which said all refrigeration units parked up should be linked into the electrical hook-up system.
And having heard arguments from all sides at the informal hearing and after touring the area and speaking to residents, Mr Maher has allowed the company's appeal against Mendip Council's original refusal.
He has directed the company that all parked vehicles with refrigeration units and hook-up connections should be linked up to the electrical hook-up supply.
And he is allowing only three without hook-up facilities to park up on site – as long as they park in a designated parking area away from homes.
He also called for the long-awaited acoustic fence to be completed within three months.
After Mr Maher's decision was announced last week Lee Wright, from Peter Green's planning consultants Pointcloud, said: "We are pleased that the appeal on behalf of Peter Green Haulage has been allowed as this will now enable the company to finally bridge the gap in the bund that has remained open since the site was extended, due to the major water main that runs below the bund in this area and is subject of a Bristol Water wayleave.
"Infilling the gap with an acoustic fence will reduce noise break-out from the site, to the benefit of nearby residents."
But Evercreech's district councillor Peter Bradshaw said he had already had several calls from disappointed residents since the Inspector's findings were announced.
He said: "I am disappointed for the residents. But all we can do is accept this decision and keep a wary eye on the factory and ensure it adheres to the conditions imposed and that the lorries without hook-ups are using the designated parking areas. But I know many residents are very disappointed with this decision."