From Cllr Hamilton 6-Mar-19

Hello All

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 possible.

Background

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 and apprenticeships.

Issues raised

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 this.

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 levels.

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.

Regards

Councillor Angela Hamilton

Beacon and Bents Ward


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