As you are aware myself and Emma Lewell-Buck MP met
with UK Docks on Friday last week when I raised a number of concerns on
behalf of residents. I apologise for the slight delay in responding
but I needed to clarify a couple of points
with officers first to make sure I answered as many of your concerns as
UK Docks are the owners of a boat yard on River
Drive which is the companies Headquarters. The main services provided
from the River Drive location include repairs for boats and small ships,
a marine supply store, workshop facilities and
base for staff who repair and maintain ships in various locations
around the world. There are no repairs to large ships or shipbuilding
on the site as the dock is not large enough for this. The business
provides jobs in the local area and offers traineeships
Since UK Docks opened the site on River Drive a
number of concerns have been raised by residents about the operation of
the premises. My response to each of these issues are below:
Containers: As I believe you are already
aware the containers have now been moved. Some of the containers will
be removed from the site while others have been moved to another
location on the site which does not overlook any houses.
There was a delay in these being moved due to delays in building works
being completed (see below) but hopefully this issue is now resolved.
Jetties: Although there were proposals for
jetties included in the plans there has never been any confirmation of
if and when these would be built. At the moment there are no plans to
build the jetties. I have asked UK Docks to
let me know if this position changes.
Lighting: UK Docks confirmed that there were
some problems with lighting when the office building first opened.
This was due to a fault with the automatic lights which were not turning
off when the building was empty. As I am sure
you can imagine this was a concern for the company as well as local
residents. The fault has been fixed and I have been reassured that the
only lights that are on overnight are security lights that are required
on sites such as this. Given that there is
street lighting in the areas these lights are unlikely to have any
adverse impact on the area.
Building works: The work to build the office
building was delayed as the builders contracted to do this went out of
business meaning UK Docks had to complete the work themselves using
local contractors. The main building work is
now complete so hopefully there will be no further issues relating to
Car park: UK Docks have told me that they
will be carrying out the works on the car park over the next few weeks.
While this may mean there will be some increase in noise for a short
period of time I have been assured that this
will not be carried out early in the morning, late in the evening or on
Sundays. There may be a need to carry out some work on Saturday
mornings but this will be kept to a minimum. Once the car park has been
completed this will create a gap between houses
and the area where work is carried out which should assist in reducing
Noise reduction: The noise reduction boards
that are currently in place are not MDF but a heavy duty material used
in the marine industry and are seen as the most effective in reducing
noise. UK Docks are not opposed to planting
trees along the border and will consider this but there are a number of
issues that need to be considered before this is agreed including:
type of trees; impact of planting trees on surround properties as it is
important that anything planted does not cause
problems for the foundations; and whether planting trees would help
reduce noise levels. This is something we can discuss with UK Docks
once the car park is finished.
Privacy: Having visited the site and
attended a meeting in the office building I don’t believe there are any
issues. There is one window that faces the rear of the houses on
Harbour View but it is virtually impossible to see into
either the houses or the gardens from this window due to the angle of
the building and the window. If you are still concerned please let me
know and I will contact UK Docks to see if there is anything that can be
done to provide you with additional reassurance.
Planning: While I understand the concerns
you have raised about the buildings deviating from the original plans I
cannot see any way to resolve this issue. You have said that the
building is slightly wider and higher than the original
plans but I have not been able to find out anything about why this
happened. As I wasn’t a Councillor at the time I was not involved in
any of the discussions so can’t confirm whether this was agreed before
or after building works were completed and it wouldn’t
be possible to reduce the building and it isn’t financially viable to
remove and rebuild it.
I believe that many of the issues may have been
caused by a lack of communication between UK Docks, the Council and
residents which is something I hope will not be an issue going forward.
UK Docks are happy to talk about any concerns going
forward and, if you would like me to, I can facilitate discussions as
and when required. I realise this may not be resolve all of your past
concerns but hopefully it will allow us to build a relationship to
prevent similar problems arising in the future.
If you have any questions or need any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Councillor Angela Hamilton
Beacon and Bents Ward