An enraged resident says she is leaving Cheltenham for Hong Kong so she doesn’t have to listen to a constant noise in front of her home.
The woman, who only wanted to be known as Linda, lives in Chelsea Square and said she has put up with the din of a ventilation pipe above the Thai Emerald restaurant in St George’s Place since last November.
Describing him as “looking like a jumbo jet,” she said her complaints to the borough council had led to measures being taken to reduce noise.
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But she said he was still there and she was so fed up that she decided to live in Hong Kong, where her son and daughter are based, for a while.
She said: “With the lockdown ending in mid-April, that pipe then started roaring at least 13 hours a day and once or twice for 17 hours a day, from 9:30 am to 3:15 am.
“This noise later turned out to be 22 decibels louder than it should be and it particularly affected me as my apartment is at eye level. It really affected my mental health and made me feel left a feeling of depression. “
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She added that she was baffled that what she considered an “ugly” pipe had been allowed into a conservation area.
She said: “At the end of June, the environmental health worker came to listen and informed my neighbor and I that this was the worst noise pollution he had ever heard.
“By that time, many other residents had filled out noise diary cards to complain about the environmental health hose.
“The agent then served a noise reduction notice on the restaurant and building owners, Formal Investments.”
Linda said engineers last weekend added an attenuator and black coating to the pipe in an effort to reduce noise, but by then she had had enough.
She said: “That monotonous roar has basically driven me out of my home and I’m leaving Cheltenham to stay with my family. I own my apartment, but hope to rent it out to someone who is out all day and most evenings and who won’t be as affected.
The noise had diminished but had not disappeared, she said.
The “rumble” of the pipe continued from 9:30 am to 11:00 pm approximately every day except Monday when it did not start until 3:30 pm. It was bad enough for her to keep her windows closed.
She added: “It is particularly noisy in the evenings and at night when the traffic has stopped. It used to be when I would sit on my balcony and listen to the rustling of trees and the chirping of birds and enjoy the silence – which no longer exists.
The Thai Emerald has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.
What the owner of the building said
Clare Savage, Head of Estates and Asset Management at Formal Investments, said: “The Thai Emerald Restaurant at Formal House is a popular local fixture and has been around for twenty years.
“When Latheram House was built on adjacent land and John Dower House was converted into apartments, developer Pegasus Life complained that the restaurant’s exhaust fan ducts were obscuring the view and threatened to shut down. the restaurant unless the kitchen equipment and leads has been changed considerably. Ultimately, the only practical solution to meeting these demands was to reroute the conduit off their lot.
“The cost of this has run into tens of thousands of pounds, which would have been way too much for the restaurant to bear even before the pandemic. As a responsible owner with deep roots in the community, we covered a lot of the cost of the conduit rerouting, so you can understand how disappointing it was to receive a noise reduction notice in July.
“We reacted quickly by appointing a specialized firm of acoustic engineers who carried out an investigation and made recommendations. We worked closely with Alex Mason, the head of environmental health at Cheltenham Borough Council, to agree on the work needed to comply with the terms of the notice. This work is now complete, testing is underway shortly and the results will be presented next week.
“We are very sorry that the relocation of the conduit has caused such distress to all residents of Chelsea Square. It is unfortunate that the board could not disclose the name of the complainant as we would have been too happy to keep them informed of what was being done to resolve the issue.
“This personal approach may have been a comfort and they may not have felt the need for such drastic action.”
What the board said
Mike Redman, Borough Council Environment Director, said: “Council is aware of the complaint and the detrimental effect excessive noise can have on both individuals and communities.
“Our environmental health officers assess noise complaints and work closely with their planning colleagues to ensure that items such as ventilation systems in business premises are properly designed and are not causing problems.
“This complaint was investigated and a noise problem with a ventilation pipe was identified. A formal notice was served demanding the reduction of noise pollution.
“On this occasion, although recommended remedial work was carried out by the company, which had sought professional advice, it was not as effective as it should have been.
“Agents continue to work with the company and their noise consultant to remedy this situation. The council always seeks to work cooperatively with businesses to achieve compliance in the most efficient manner and achieve the best results for our local residents, communities and the local economy.
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