Retrospective plans by a Petworth firm to install a dust extraction system and wood chipping facility have been given the go-ahead by councillors.
The site in North Street, which is occupied by Lucking Brothers and Fineline Traditional Joinery, has been recently redeveloped with the existing joinery workshop being demolished and replaced with a new steel frame and clad building.
Now proposals have been submitted for the retention of a dust extraction system and wood chipping facility at the northern end of the replacement building.
The system is designed to recover saw dust and wood shavings. The recovered dust is burnt to produce heating for the workshop.
However its operation has attracted complaints from nearby residents who have raised concerns about the noise levels and the negative visual impact on local and wider surroundings.
The retrospective application for the works was approved by Chichester District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (January 16).
The committee heard from officers how a comprehensive package of noise mitigation measures to address the concerns of residents was an ‘integral part of the proposals’.
Pippa Thorman, a Petworth resident speaking in objection, raised concerns about the way background noise levels had been calculated and then used to demonstrate the application would be acceptable.
She urged councillors to conduct a site visit so they could see the size and scale of the proposal.
Lisa Jackson, the agent for the applicant, argued that the plans would reduce the need to transport waste material from the site and how the new dust extraction unit was an improvement on the previous historic system.
Janet Duncton (Con, Petworth) described how her main concern was noise and asked for reassurance from officers it would not be intolerable for residents.
This was echoed by Richard Plowman (LDem, Chichester West) who asked officers if they believed sufficient mitigation would be in place so that noise ‘will be at an acceptable level’.
Officers said ‘local residents may hear something but it will not be the loud omnipresent noise as it is at present’.
Gordon McAra (Ind, Midhurst) pointed out that this was an industrial site, while Carol Purnell (Con, Selsey North) added: “The safety of the people who work there and the sustainability of reusing that material and getting vehicles off the road that potentially would have been used, I think this actually is a good use.”