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Noise Is Not the Only Form of Disturbance - High Court Ruling

Disturbance can take many forms and noise is just one of them. Planners made that point in heeding the concerns of residents of a quiet cul-de-sac and scotching plans for a 30-flat supported living development on the edge of a seaside town.

The would-be developers wished to demolish a two-storey house in the cul-de-sac in order to provide an access route to the development site. However, outline planning consent was refused by the local authority and that decision was later confirmed by a central government planning inspector.

The latter found that, although noise endured by the owners of nearby properties would not be significantly increased, the disturbance to their lives would be unacceptable. The development would lead to a substantial increase in traffic passing through the cul-de-sac, interfering with residents' peace and tranquillity.

In rejecting the developers' challenge to that ruling, the High Court found that the inspector had made no error of law and that the reasons he gave for his decision were intelligible. The cul-de-sac was a quiet enclave of seven homes and the inspector was entitled to find that the increase in traffic levels and pedestrian movements arising from 30 new flats would cause a significant disturbance.

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