The council depot in Outram Place (map) is causing a lot of noise that disturbs local residents. Council workmen a few years ago began bricking up car parking bays under the 29-36 Outram Place block and turning the area into a work yard. An Outram Place resident has contacted me and forwarded a couple of emails:
The noise in the house is audible through the walls, but even more than that is the noise of the mechanical street sweepers and the guys driving them and talking amongst themselves at the crack of dawn every day. I know different people have to work at different times, but this is a residential area after all and to operate offices from a residential garage ideal for the community.
[now] they are building a dressing room backing on to my living room and this will cause even more noise. It is really stressing me out being woken up so early every morning before work.
recently there has been a mechanised service depot introduced into our car parking spaces behind the property. I am writing to voice my concerns about how this area is being used and wish to ask for it to be removed immediately.
Every day I am getting woken up about 5-6am by people shouting and people slamming doors, vehicles being turned on and people making noise. All of this is happeing in what used to be a car parlking space behind my property.
The guys start making noise from 5-6am every morning. This is not acceptable in a residential area. Today I got woken up by someone drilling in the room, I have not been notified of anything being done to our property and low and behold it was being done by the Mechanised service depot. This needs to be relocated as this is not an industrial state, the council have taken over a residential area for this.
As the council have been using this building for the past three years, could you please give me a breakdown of how much the mechanical services depot has put towards the service charges?
Can you please also provide the planning permission that was submitted when the council has changed the usage of our residential block of flats into offices for the mechanised services depot, as I don’t remember being consulted or informed?
Please could you put an action plan together for
A timeline for when this depot will be closed down and relocated.
Reimbursement for every person who has been affected by the noise.
Plan to put money into the services fund for residents who have overpaid service charges unfairly. The amount of space and people going through this depot they should be paying at least 50% of the service charges I have paid.
I attended the site this morning and engines were being left running, doors slammed etc without apparent regard for local people. The area is a yard enclosed by brick walls that reflect and magnify the sound. The pictures show how many lorries are based there and on Google Maps we can see at least four street sweepers and five trucks, NSA-style. the workers who use the depot work hard to keep our streets clean, but it doesn’t need to be as noisy as this.
To me it seems an open and shut case of nuisance under the environmental health act. Noise from a workplace is repeatedly and plainly audible in a residential dwelling and causes a nuisance to the person that resides there in waking them up, affecting their right to quiet enjoyment of their property. The council’s environmental protection officers are obliged to enforce the act against the council or its contractors as against any other person.
Then there is the matter of planning permission. This large secluded yard with concealed car parking used to be a bad place. It was a regular haunt of sex workers with their clients in cars, indeed when i lived nearby I bought handheld search light I used to shine at cars occupied by drug takers and sex workers in the yard and on Randell’s Road to scare them off (it worked really well) and helped get a gate on the entrance. The bays were regular dumping spots for needles and condoms. Arson was a frequent problems. Putting the yard to use, making it somewhere that has regular footfall and bricking up the bays has I think reduced the problems of ASB there – despite one tragedy.
But it is a dense residential area and very noisy use seems wrong. Indeed the Delhi-Outram estates (named after roads named for key aspects of the 1857 Indian Rebellion) are relatively quiet, peaceful places with no through traffic, making the contrast the more severe. So if there is no planning permission it needs to be sought retrospectively with proper local consultation and either this space put to a more appropriate use or stringent controls on working hours and noise introduced to save local residents. I would check for planning permission but the council’s web search thing is broken as I type. Elsewhere such parking bays have been turned into housing units and this must be possible here.