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Play centre ‘too noisy’

Katie Coyne22/11/2018 - 13:28

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Children are 'too noisy'
Children are 'too noisy'

A children’s play centre in Hampshire is being forced to close for being ‘too noisy’ following complaints from neighbours downstairs.

The Little Play Town in Odiham centre faces eviction after being served by Hart District Council with a noise abatement notice.  

Owners of the family run centre in Fountains Mall have said they face losing £85,000 of investment they have poured into the business and that ten staff would lose their job.

They said the noise issue is due to poor sound-proofing and that the children are no more noisy than is usual for their age and numbers. However, the play centre application to install it has been refused because of a ‘lack of detail’ provided on how it will affect the listed building’s structure.

Virna Browne, who owns the centre with her husband Clinton, said she had no idea that the building would pose noise issues before she signed the lease and has been trying to fix the problem.

She said: ‘We’ve been working every day for over a year to rectify the problems that the neighbours have subsequently had.

‘We were completely unaware that when anyone walks on the floors the noise could be heard below, especially when the building had previously been used as an office.

‘We feel we have been treated very unfairly by some of those opposed to our business.’ 

Browne said that the business had passed two professional sound tests, which have shown that noise is within normal limits for residential and commercial building regulations.  Because of ‘continual campaigning’ she said the council had decided to issue the notice regardless.

Katherine Jane Gift Shop and Fountains Coffee Shop said in a statement that the noise from the play centre had caused some of their customers to leave.

It said: ‘We do not hear children happily playing but experience a constant barrage of thumping, crashing and running producing a significant noise and vibration impact to our business below.”

Hart District Council head of regulatory services Nick Steevens said: ‘Following the investigation it was concluded that noise nuisance was occurring and as such the Council issued a Noise Abatement notice.

‘Since then the council has been working with the business owner to investigate solutions to reduce the impact of noise resulting from the poor quality of flooring in the building.

‘Throughout this case the council has worked proactively with both parties to try and find a resolution and give reasonable time to address the issue.’

The building’s foundations are not strong enough to hold the heavy soundproof floors that weigh 100kg per square metre. The council has turned down a planning application to put steel plates and pavement slabs in the building to make the foundations stronger.

Brown said a last minute solution could be the installation of a suspended ceiling in the gift shop below to help combat the sound issue but the owner is refusing.



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