Plans approved for heater pumps at Hartlepool flats despite concerns over noise

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Plans have been approved to install air source heat pumps to help combat fuel poverty despite noise concerns.

Hartlepool Borough Council planning committee passed plans for the heat pumps at Oval Grange for a site featuring five blocks of three storey flats.

Making a decision has twice been delayed by the planning committee and a further environmental and noise assessment report had to be provided by the applicant.

Three letters of objection had been received to the plans from residents raising concerns of the noise the pumps could make and the lack of draught proofing for the flats.

However, planning bosses ruled the proposals to install the heat pumps to 69 properties of Oval Grange were in line with its policies for the area.

A report from planning officer Leigh Dalby said: “It is considered that the noise associated with the proposed development will not have a significant adverse impact upon any neighbouring residential properties.

“It is considered that the proposal is acceptable and will not result in an adverse loss of amenity or privacy for the neighbouring properties.”

Brickwork will be used to cover the heat pumps to minimise the visual impact of the proposal.

A design and access statement from applicant Thirteen stated the pumps will provide efficient heating for the flats.

It said: “Air source heat pumps can provide low-cost space heating for homes and are highly efficient.

“They will help combat fuel poverty and improve health and comfort levels to tenants.

“The new heat pumps will provide a fully controllable heating and hot water system which is highly efficient therefore meeting the needs of the property and tenants.”

The applicant has also committed to operating the units in ‘silent’ mode at all times, which prevents the units at operating at above 80% capacity to ensure that the units provide the maximum mitigation against potential noise nuisance.

This is in response to the concerns raised by neighbours who submitted objections notices to the plans previously.

One resident said: “We are concerned about the potential noise impact of a large number of air source heat pumps.”

Another said: “The flats were built in 1973, no wall insulation was used and no sound proofing.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service