A DEPOT for more than 4,000 accident damaged vehicles, which was approved by councillors despite concerns over increased noise and traffic, has submitted a fresh application to expand its operating hours.
In May, West Berkshire Council unanimously approved international vehicle auctioneer Copart UK’s plans to site the storage yard for the vehicles to be sold on to traders at New Greenham Business Park.
The proposals were approved subject to several conditions, including number 17, which states that use of the premises should be restricted to between 5am and 6pm from Monday to Friday, with vehicle handling operations between 7am and 6pm.
Now the company, which has 13 such sites across the country, has applied to alter the condition to extend operations until 8pm and to add usage for 15 Saturdays each year, between 9am and 5pm.
Greenham Parish Council objected to the variation plans at an extraordinary meeting last week.
Proposing to object, councillor Allan Beal said if plans were approved “it would be unneighbourly to the residents nearby”.
The proposal, which was submitted last month, has also attracted a number of letters of objection from residents.
Jane Exelby and Derek Cutt said that claims that the extra time was needed in case of delays caused by weather problems were “spurious”. They said: “Every business is subject to the vagaries of weather and other circumstances beyond their control but most manage to cope.
“As to the noise impact, existing levels are themselves partly as a result of inappropriate development and use of the business park.”
Another, PD Emes, said: “I must point out and stress that this application has caused a great deal of anxiety to us local residents, the proposed worksite being alongside or very adjacent to our homes.
“I wish to declare my very strong objection to this planning modification creep. Being an original objector I would have expected to have been informed of this proposed revision.”
Peter and Anjela Sims said: “The community around New Greenham Business Park have endured excesses in noise and lorry movements etc over many years and need basic protection from these attempts to further erode their peace and quiet enjoyment of their surroundings and their properties.
“Copart should accept the generous terms and conditions already given and be prepared to adhere to them rigorously.”
A report prepared by DLP Planning on behalf of Copart UK argued that condition 17 was “unacceptable”.
The report said: “The restrictive nature of the current condition will significantly affect the ability for Copart to operate from the site as they will be unable to undertake and complete all the necessary logistical processes on the site without breaching the condition.
“Copart as a business operates 13 sites within the United Kingdom and contributes a considerable amount towards the local economy. The use of the site will also generate further job opportunities for the local community.
“However, the current condition imposed on the site restricts this from taking place as Copart would not be able to efficiently operate from the site under such tight restrictions.
“It is therefore imperative that condition 17 is amended.”
A noise assessment also submitted on behalf of Copart UK said that the extra hours would have “negligible if any” adverse impact.
Copart UK was approached for comment but did not respond and West Berkshire Council will determine the application at a later date.