Council acts on concerns over nine-metre high sound barrier in Stevenage

Sound barrier in Stevenage

Stevenage Borough Council says it is taking steps to address residents' noise and visual impact concerns over the sound barrier between the A1(M) and Franklins Park in Stevenage - Credit: Supplied

Steps are being taken to address widespread concerns about a nine-metre high sound barrier between a new housing development in Stevenage and the A1(M), the local authority has promised.

Residents began raising concerns about reflective noise and the visual impact of the barrier as soon as it began being erected in April between the motorway and Franklins Park, where 133 homes are being built on land west of the A1(M) and south of Stevenage Road in Todds Green.

Stevenage Borough Council's planning department granted permission for the barrier after another council department failed to report that their noise consultant had said the site needed remodelling due to concerns over the proposed barrier, in terms of reflective noise and the ground effects of the screening.

A council spokesman said: "Whilst environmental health raised concerns, they did not stipulate additional modelling had to be undertaken for the acoustic fence. 

"As such, the planning department considered there was not sufficient grounds to refuse the application."

The council's spokesman added that "it is not uncommon for acoustic fences of this size and scale to be constructed along the boundary of residential developments in context with busy motorways and dual carriageways," but said the local authority is "taking concerns seriously" after residents lodged formal complaints over noise, pollution and the visual impact of the barrier.

"Officers are liaising directly with Taylor Wimpey and Highways England to explore options of mitigating the visual impact of the fence," the spokesman said. "However, this will take time as consideration has to be given as to the maintenance of the fence, along with ensuring any measures do not impact on the safe operation of the A1(M).

"Officers have been discussing the noise impacts directly with Taylor Wimpey, who have provided a copy of a technical note from their appointed acoustician regarding reflective noise. This note concluded that any reflected noise received by the properties to the east of the A1(M) would be imperceptible. However, officers have appointed an independent consultant to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the erected fence in relation to reflective sound. They will also review the technical note issued by Taylor Wimpey.

"Depending on the results of this asessment, the council will consider next steps."