Councillor Lyons had submitted a motion to Council on 11 February 2021 which had been considered by the Executive in March 2021. The motion dealt with the limitation on noise from construction sites and had not been supported by the Executive. Councillor Davis, Portfolio Holder, introduced the recommendation of the Executive which had recommended that the motion, as set out below, should not be supported.
“In accordance with the Control of Pollution Act (Noise) 1974, construction sites operating in Woking must currently limit site noise to the hours of 08:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday, 08:00 and 13:00 on Saturday and not at all on Sunday, with no noise permitted to be audible from the site boundary outside of those hours.
(i) These times are to be confirmed as a matter of Council policy, and any review of, or amendments to, these times must be determined by the Council.
(ii) Any permission to vary from these times may only be granted to an applicant with the permission of the Planning Committee.
(iii) Any such permission by the Planning Committee will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, and for a limited and specified period.
(iv) Permission to vary these times on a single occasion, for a maximum period of one day, may be granted by relevant Officers under delegated powers. Subsequent applications, or applications for longer than one day, must be considered by the Planning Committee.
(v) On all such instances of permission to vary from these times being granted, residents likely to be affected will be notified by post.
(vi) Works deemed to be an emergency will continue to be exempt from these restrictions.”
Councillor Lyons spoke in support of the Motion, outlining the key objectives of the proposals to create a fair, transparent and open process which would take into account the views of Councillors and residents. Councillor Ashall suggested that further investigations should be undertaken on the implications of the proposals within the Motion before a decision could be reached to ensure the Members were fully aware of the current arrangements in place and the impact the changes proposed would have.
In view of the discussion, the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Peter Bryant, suggested that the matter should be deferred to enable it to be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 7 June and the Executive at its meeting on 17 June 2021 with a view to the matter being brought back to Council in July 2021. The proposal would allow Officers to consult with Councillor Lyons and Group Leaders with a view to identifying whether a proposed change to existing arrangements could be achieved without increasing the level of bureaucracy involved.
Councillor Lyons welcomed the proposed approach and supported the proposal.
That consideration of the Motion be deferred to enable Officers and Members to investigate further possible changes to the existing arrangements to deal with the concerns over the impact of construction site noise and the control of hours of operation, through the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Executive.