Decision to be made on electricity generators

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A decision on whether a controversial plan to build electric generator units near to a residential street can go ahead will be made next week.

The planning committee will decide if Alkane Energy UK can go ahead with the plan to build the three generation units along with a 10m high flue, associated equipment facilities and perimeter fencing at Dobson Park Industrial Estate in Ince.

The application has received 22 letters of objection from nearby residents, especially those who live on Mitchell Street which is close to the propsed site, who fear the noise from the units will affect their quality of life.

The plan to build the units was considered by the committee at its last meeting in April but they decided a site visit was required to better understand the effect the units may have on residents.

Coun David Molyneux spoke in opposition to the plan at the meeting.

He said: “I fully understand that this is already an industrial estate but the noise generated from the planned units will not be banging of metal or moving of equipment, it would be a constant drone.

“Anyone who has ever experienced noise from generators knows the difference that can make to people’s quality of life.

“In the summer whether residents have their windows open or sit in their gardens there are times when this noise will be very much on their minds.”

Coun Molyneux accepted that conditions such as an acoustic barrier and restricting the hours of the units operation had been agreed but said that this proved that the Alkane Energy had accepted noise would be a problem.

Council officers had recommended the application for approval.

Development control manager Graham Dickman said: “We are seeing more and more of these types of proposals to secure the energy supply as they provide services during peak times when the existing supply is under pressure.

“It does this by converting the gas supply into electricity during those peak times. This will normally be during the day. The hours proposed are acceptable from that point of view.”

He explained that as well as building an acoustic barrier, the fence between the site and the houses would be replaced and a beech hedge would be planted along the perimeter.

The committee will visit the site and hear arguments for and against the plan before making a decision at the meeting on June 7.