Updated Jun 1, 2022

Noise from concert fans leads to apartment planning refusal

A planning application for 332 apartments near the Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester has been refused by an inspector over noise concerns.

Accrue (Forum) 1 LLP had submitted an application to construct two tower block apartments on a brownfield site near the cricket ground, the development would consist of 332 apartments, parking and flexible space for leisure and shops.

The development was opposed by Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, citing many reasons including the impact of the development on living conditions, harm to the character of the area and its inadequate contribution to affordable housing.

On appeal, housing inspector Andrew McGlone considered the impact of the development  on the appearance and character of the area, and suggested the height of the buildings would be out of place with the nearby smaller-scale residential buildings. He also commented that the high density of the apartment dwellings wouldn't be in keeping the lower density of the surrounding area.

Another key factor he considered was the effect of the noise on the potential residents of the new apartments from the nearby Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Both Accrue (Forum) 1 LLP and Lancashire County Cricket Club (LCCC) produced noise assessments for the stadium, with the inspector choosing to use LCCCs due to its more robust and reliable methodology. The cricket stadium holds concerts around seven times a year and hosts up to 55,000 people - the planning inspector concluded that these events would disturb residents in the proposed development and the developer had proposed no mitigation measures to address this.

The inspector said noise from the cricket matches themselves shouldn't be an issue for residents but the noise from concerts hosted there would harm residents enjoyment of their own homes and it would be unfair to restrict such activities at the stadium. This falls under the ‘agent of change’ principle set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which states that existing business and facilities can't have unreasonable restrictions placed on them as a result of new developments permitted after they were established.

During the appeal consideration was also given to the levels of amenity space in the proposed development. The inspector noted that two courtyards, which provided  around one-third of the total amenity space, would not receive sufficient levels of sunlight and consequently there was not enough amenity space.

Other concerns the inspector raised included the development having an impact on the outlook for existing residents in nearby streets, and a disruption of views of the grade II listed Trafford Town Hall, stating that was a negligible degree of harm.

The final ground looked at a question over the calculated housing land supply. The appellant had calculated a housing land supply of 3.30 years, compared with the council’s figure of 4.24 years. The inspector actually agreed the appellant's figure seemed more accurate, however despite the proposed developments contribution to the housing supply and local economy, Inspector McGlone dismissed the appeal. He concluded on balance that the proposed development would impact too much on its setting and the noise from concerts at the Old Trafford stadium would harm residents living conditions.