Residents at end of tether with ‘noisy’ Waitrose

Councillors Sue and Ken Jones next to Hazelmere Avenue, Buckshaw Village. Below, the houses are close to the Waitrose Distribution Centre
Councillors Sue and Ken Jones next to Hazelmere Avenue, Buckshaw Village. Below, the houses are close to the Waitrose Distribution Centre
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Homeowners are pulling their hair out over the noisy actions of a nearby warehouse.

Residents living in Hazelmere Avenue, Buckshaw Village, are fed up of battling for noise-reduction measures to be imposed at the Waitrose Distribution Centre.

Photo Neil Cross'The Waitrose distribution centre on Buckshaw Village, where residents have been complaining about noise

Photo Neil Cross'The Waitrose distribution centre on Buckshaw Village, where residents have been complaining about noise

But Waitrose argues it has done more than enough to appease its neighbours.

Leyland councillors Ken and Sue Jones, whose St Ambrose ward covers part of Buckshaw Village, have been working with families to try to find a solution.

Ken said: “The problem has been going on for about two years now.

“It started with a company called Synergie near Waitrose.

“There were lots of complaints and South Ribble Council did some noise measurements and Synergie put some sound-proofing in.

“Residents were happy with that, but at the same time, Waitrose was starting to ramp up its activities.

“People can’t sit in their gardens during the summer or have their windows open because it’s so loud.

“Waitrose has taken this seriously and its a company which is mindful of its reputation. In a situation like this, there are no winners.”

Coun Sue Jones added: “There’s a lot of anger and distress and other developers are still building houses which are also close to the distribution centre; it’s terrifying.

“Residents have been incredibly patient but I think now they’ve reached their limit. I can understand their frustration.”

Resident John Booth said: “I moved in two years ago and it was very quiet initially, but it gradually got busier and louder.

“Me and wife Rebecca had a baby and she’s one now, and it’s so difficult to get her into a routine due to the noise. It’s a real struggle.

“I’m a full-time dad during the day and work nights, but I’m getting no sleep and I’m constantly knackered. I’m at the end of my tether.

“In the summer, we can’t open our windows and we can still hear the noise from our back garden. It sounds like a really busy main road with trucks whizzing past all day.”

A Waitrose spokesman said: “We want to be a good neighbour and we continue to work with residents and the Environmental Health Office to reduce our impact on surrounding properties.

“We have introduced a number of measures to further reduce noise. We have moved our pressure wash inside the existing vehicle wash area and away from the perimeter fence.

“We also direct our drivers to turn off reversing alarms whenever safe to do so and keep the garage doors closed when working on vehicles in the workshop.

“In addition, we will be replacing our forklift for a quieter electric vehicle, reducing the amount of activity carried out in the yard.”

Residents have also been calling on South Ribble Council to take sound recordings, and Coun Phil Smith, the council’s cabinet member for healthy communities, said: “An investigation is currently underway, which involves us taking sound recordings at the site.

“Waitrose is a very responsible organisation which has already taken a number of steps to help, but we will continue to actively liaise with all parties involved.”

In a recent letter to residents from South Ribble Council’s environmental health officer, seen by the Guardian, it says that a fence would need to be around 15m high to provide a substantial reduction to the noise level.

But the letter adds: “I have discussed the height of the fence with the council’s planning department which advises me that a free standing fence of this height along the boundary of the site is significant, overly domineering and visually oppressive, with overshadowing and loss of light issues. It would therefore be highly unlikely to receive planning permission and would not be supported by officers.

“Therefore an acoustic barrier or fence will not be erected along the boundary.”