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Residents’ plea to planners to reject ‘deafening’ aircon units installed at back of new supermarket in Newmarket

Residents living close to Newmarket town centre claim council planners have ignored their pleas to intervene after the owner of a neighbouring building installed unsightly compressor and air conditioning units within five metres of their homes.

People living in Church Lane said the machinery, at the rear of a new Turkish supermarket, in the former Blockbuster video shop at 128 High Street, was completely different to what was shown on an application for planning permission submitted to West Suffolk Council and had been installed before permission was granted.

“We have objected on the basis that the location, the size and the number of these units is not what is shown on the council’s own planning portal,” said one neighbour, whose front sitting room and bedroom look straight out on the equipment.

The units which have been installed on the back of a new supermarket in the heart of a town's conservation area
The units which have been installed on the back of a new supermarket in the heart of a town's conservation area

“Our homes were built in 1900, and are in a conservation area, but this shows a complete disregard for our heritage,” she added.

“We have also asked the council to carry out a noise impact assessment because we believe the compressor's noise could be as high as 120 decibels, 40 decibels higher than the highest permitted level, which would be deafening,” she said.

“To the best of our knowledge, no-one from the council has ever been out to look at this site.”

The residents are also concerned about the installation of the equipment.

“It was initially held up with ropes but has since been welded on to brackets. Nothing has been put in to prevent the transmission of noise and when they're turned on I fully expect my windows to vibrate.

“Our proposal is that they should be taken down to ground level and fenced around to dampen the noise but the council has made no response to our comments. This is pushing everybody to breaking point,”

The application to the council also included changes to the front of the building to install a timber frame to conform with West Suffolk shop front policy but, to date, although the supermarket appears to be stocked, no work on the front has been carried out and it remains closed.

A council spokesperson said: “The council is working with the property owner to understand and address the noise issues raised by neighbours. A new planning application has been submitted and comments from neighbours and consultees are being considered carefully as part of the planning process.”