Avoiding 'Cultural Deserts'

Where a new residential development is proposed - or, the conversion of commercial units for residential use is requested - planning departments will:

  1. Check for any nearby licensed premises, community halls/spaces, theatres, or other 'social spaces' where there is a risk of noise nuisance to the proposed development.
  2. Review local business rates records checking for any still-existing premises which the use of has matched point 1 within the last decade.
  3. Where such a risk of noise nuisance is found, require planning applications to include soundproofing measures.
  4. That said soundproofing measures exceed the requirements to ensure such noise pollution is inaudible within the new development.
  5. Require construction companies provide local authorities with funding for the engagement of independent, and fully qualified, experts to verify soundproofing of the development is adequate.
  6. Require an amount estimated to adequately cover the implemention of such soundproofing measures, post-construction, be held in escrow.
  7. Reject any, and all, submissions of Completion Certificates until said independent experts have assessed the development, and found implemented soundproofing does exceed the assessed risk of noise nuisance identified in points 1 and/or 2.
  8. Release of funds held in escrow, per point 6, not to take place until independent experts have confirmed the development meets soundproofing requirements; and, a Completion Certificate is issued for the development.

Why the contribution is important

'Cultural wasteland' is a well-understood term, with many readily able to identify the loss of local licensed premises which might put on live music, theatres, or local community spaces. The presence of such places tends to increase diversity within any given area, often contributes significantly to the local night-time economy, as well as keeping art and culture at a local level.

All too-often the construction of new - or, conversion of commerical units to - residential properties can force cultural activites out of the area due to issues over noise pollution.

Whilst local authorities may attempt to apply an "Agent of Change" principle, they simply lack the resources to verify any conditions - such as soundproofing of the new development - have been completed to an acceptable standard.

Property developers employ a maze of shell companies and sub-contractors. This often leads to developments not meeting major terms of planning consent. They should not be able to escape the costs involved in rectifying such issues.

by BrianMcNeil on January 31, 2016 at 11:31PM

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