Developer explains rationale for high Littlehampton acoustic fence

The developer building the new Fitzalan Link Road has explained the rationale behind the height of new acoustic fencing.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 3:17 pm
The fence posts are already in place behind the properties in Highdown Drive. Photo by Steve Robards

Last month, a group of Littlehampton residents spoke to the Gazette about their shock to find out about plans for a 3.5-metre-high fence right behind their back gardens in Highdown Drive.

Developer Persimmon is building the Fitzalan Link Road, which will eventually join up with the new Lyminster bypass at the A259.

But Highdown Drive residents want to see acoustic fencing reduced in height from the proposed 3.5metres to 2.5metres.

Although not confirmed, it is believed the height is due to the speed limit on the new road being 40mph instead of 30mph.

Residents are hoping that a compromise could be reached with officers at both Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council approaching the developer.

In a reply to residents last week, Persimmon Homes Thames Valley explained the rationale behind the 3.5m height of the fence as it is ‘required to reduce traffic noise to an acceptable level’.

This decision followed a noise report from its specialist consultant.

The letter concludes: “In other words, a lower acoustic fence (2.5 metre in height) would not have provided sufficient mitigation from the effect of noise generated by the bypass for those properties adjoining the new road; and the application was carefully considered and approved by Arun District Council.

“In summary, during the application process, that included a detailed review of our consultants’ technical studies, the only solution to safeguard existing properties from the impact of noise was a 3.5 metre high acoustic fence.

“I trust this gives some context and rationale behind the height of the fence. Whilst discussions are on-going, the company is continuing to build the acoustic fence because of its planning obligations.”

The response has not gone down well with residents.

Tracy Lynch, who lives in Highdown Drive with her partner, said they were ‘livid’ at the letter as they had asked to talk directly to both the county council and Persimmon but had received no response.

She asked how they could ‘arrive at a conclusion that is best for the residents when they don’t ask us what our opinion is’ and called for further discussion to reach a ‘reasonable compromise’.