Brighton & Hove Conservatives have today (Mon 20th) welcomed the serving of a formal noise abatement notice on train operator Govia Thameslink by Brighton & Hove City Council following a successful Conservative campaign on behalf of the residents of Grange Close, Preston Park who have been suffering from serious noise disturbance and disruption caused by the stabling of trains in the new Brighton Down Yard sidings, north of Brighton Station.
Following recent inspections and independent noise readings taken by BHCC Environmental Protection officers, the Council has said it is now satisfied that, under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a statutory noise nuisance does exist at Grange Close. The Council is therefore required to serve the train operator, Govia Thameslink, with a noise abatement notice. Govia Thameslink now has four months until February 2015 to rectify the serious noise problems the residents have been facing or face further enforcement action.
Local Conservative candidates have been campaigning on behalf of residents in both Grange Close and nearby Millers Road to raise awareness of the problems they had been facing, particularly the noise and light disturbance caused by the stabled trains overnight. Residents living closest to the sidings were often finding it difficult to sleep. Many were also concerned about privacy intrusions. The Conservatives liaisied with BHCC Environmental Protection officers on behalf of the residents ahead of the Council decision. Withdean ward Councillors Ann and Ken Norman have also been campaigning on behalf of residents in Millers Road on the western side of the tracks who have been similarly affected by lighting problems.
Lee Wares, the Conservative ward candidate for Patcham in next year’s Brighton & Hove City Council elections, said: “I am delighted that the Council has taken this position although I acknowledge Govia Thameslink have the right to appeal. We have spoken with the residents who are obviously very pleased. They also understand the position and they are prepared to attend Court to give evidence should that become necessary. They, and us, are extremely appreciative of the Council’s Environmental Protection team’s efforts so far.”
Clarence Mitchell, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion, said: “This is a very significant step forward in ensuring that the residents of Grange Close are disturbed no further. Govia Thameslink has been found to be in breach of the law and is now obliged to rectify the noise disturbance problems to the satisfaction of everyone affected by the stabling of the Brighton Down Yard trains. However, it is by no means the end of the fight on behalf of the residents of Grange Close and Millers Road and we will go on campaigning for them over the coming months.”
Should Govia Thameslink choose to appeal against the BHCC noise abatement notice, the matter will be dealt with in a Magistrates Court within Sussex, most likely within six months. If the train operator does not appeal and does not fulfil the terms of the noise abatement notice, such a breach of the notice would trigger a criminal investigation.