MIDHURST home-owners have banded together to fight noise from the nearby Holmbush industrial estate which they say has been wrecking their lives for more than two years.
“We liken it to Chinese water torture,” said Jen Smith. “It’s constant for six days a week.
“I work from home and can’t concentrate. We can’t sit in the garden. The noise grates on our nerves.”
Jen Smith and her fiance Tim moved to their home in The Fairway in November 2011.
Their nightmare started a year later when the constant ‘monotonous whirring drone’ started.
Jen said it began around 7.30am and went on after 8pm on summer evenings.”
They believed it was coming from a pizza company where a new freezer unit had been installed and contacted Chichester District Council’s environmental health team.
She said: “They came and saw us, acknowledged there was a noise and took noise measurements in September 2013.”
She said the owner of the Pan’Artisan pizza company was asked to take action to reduce the noise and she and her neighbours waited for it to stop.
“We were left hanging and then CDC came back and took more readings. They showed the noise level had gone up after the noise reduction works to between 47 and 49 decibels,” said Jen, “and a statutory noise nuisance starts at 50 decibels.”
Jen and Tim went through the complaints procedure but were told they would have to pursue the matter through the legal system themselves.
“We discovered other people were going through the same hell, so three months ago we formed the residents’ association to fight this.”
Among those the association contacted was Deb McPhilemy, featured in the Observer, who became so depressed by the noise she is selling her home.
“We feel we have been let down by the council, they went through the procedure, passed the buck and just dismissed us.”
Richard Jansen managing director of Pan’Artisan said: “Like any responsible businessman I am conscious I have neighbours and if we are creating a noise we want to do something about it.”
He said acoustic specialists had visited the site and if he gained planning permission, a new acoustically-friendly machine costing almost £10,000 would be installed to try to alleviate the issue.
A council spokesman for said: “The council has carried out a comprehensive investigation. Results showed the property was not causing a statutory noise nuisance. Because the unit is not on the ground floor but elevated, a planning application is to be submitted to retain the condenser and this will go through the normal planning process.”