PLANNING officials are recommending approval of a controversial application to install new machinery at a Gourock frozen foods business.

The equipment was fitted inside an enclosure at the rear of Donald’s Cream Ices at the end of last year, and the Tarbert Street company is now applying for retrospective planning permission.

Ten objections have been received, including from nearby residents who have complained they can’t get to sleep because of the noise.

The application will be considered at Wednesday’s planning board.

A council report states that, prior to the erection of the enclosure, there had been ongoing issues regarding the operation of the air handling units, with noise nuisance affecting nearby residential properties.

The report states: “The acoustic enclosure has addressed the noise to a level that this service is now satisfied with. In order to maintain the integrity of the acoustic enclosure, it is recommended that ongoing maintenance is carried out to ensure the enclosure does not fall into a state of disrepair which could ultimately lead to noise complaints again.”

Commenting on objections, Stuart Jamieson, head of regeneration and planning, said people living within the area cannot expect ‘the same degree a quietude’ as would occur in a wholly residential area.

He said: “It cannot be held that the units have an unacceptable impact on adjacent residential amenity by virtue of noise and disturbance.

“Whilst the original submission did not include reference to the units, the description of the application was amended to include reference to avoid dubiety as to what the application is considering. This was done with the agreement of the applicant.

“There is nothing to confirm or deny the previous existence of similar plant on the site, and the internet image accompanying one of the objections received is inconclusive in this regard.
“I consider the impact on residential amenity is acceptable, and the balance between the operation of this long established business and the amenity of adjacent residents is maintained.
“Whilst mindful of the objections received, there are no material planning considerations which suggest that planning permission should not be granted.”
Company boss Elio Amadei insists the new equipment is quieter than the machinery it replaced.
He said he was advised not to get planning permission before installation because the ‘sound proofed’ structure had to go through several design changes.
Mr Amadei said: “We went through lengthy consultation with environmental health. The council is satisfied our application ticks all the boxes. We have fulfilled all requests for sound-proofing, including acoustic pads and an acoustic tarpaulin.
“We were also asked to put a roof on the structure, which has to have ventilation to allow the machinery to ‘breathe’.”