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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 17 – Stadium noise levels below 75dBA.

Mrs. Burden, sitting with Mr. Andrew Pykett, re-opened the inquiry after the Christmas break. Mr. James Powlson of WSP Acoustics, the applicants expert on the impact of noise on the environment, presented his report and was then cross examined by the opponents representatives.

Mr Rupert Warren, Tesco's Counsel, led Mr Powlson through his evidence. Mr. Powlson explained, “The calculations on noise were based on receptors in and around Whinberry Drive and were based on worst case scenarios, such as the busiest construction periods and capacity crowds at the stadium during a football match.” He explained that the noise during construction would be “minor to moderate” and temporary, relating to the busiest construction periods and actually during football matches, indicating a noise level to be below 75 dBA.

Mr Powlson explained to the inquiry that the stadium would not be in use for the majority of the year. Everton are hoping for something different in their quest to obtain additional non-football income.

Mr Pykett, an inquiry inspector, asked why the assessment at a football stadium was taken at Goodison, during last season's Portsmouth game, a 40,000 seat stadium, rather than a 50,000 seat stadium. The inspector's questions revealed that local residents would hear the match even when TV's or radio's were on.

Mr Powlson was unable to explain why, in relation to acceptable sound levels, the level of 75dBA had been used, not the recommended 70 dBA limit for rural area, suburban and quiet urban areas.

The Grange residents were informed that the North side of their estate would be most affected by the demolition. Noise measurements had not been taken inside any of the properties and the potential sound from the stadium wouldn't escape from the corners of the ground as the back of the stands will act as an acoustic barrier.

When asked why no base line survey had been done at a quiet Goodison Park, for comparison, Mr. Powlson, again couldn't provide an answer.

Mrs. Burden asked if a match and delivery were occurring at the same time, would you hear both, or just the loudest? Mr Powlson replied that the loudest would dominate. Trying to establish concerns over night-time deliveries, the Grange informed Mr. Powlson, after he said there would be no HGVs but there might be some LGVs, that it would be up to the residents to enforce this policy.

The Kirkby Residents Action Group, represented by Pauline Pendleton, asked Mr. Powlson how the construction work, expected to take several years, could be classified as temporary? Mr. Powlson explained that whilst he agreed the project had a long construction phase there was a definite start and completion so could be regarded as temporary.

Pauline closed by enquiring about the possible compaction of the land that the stadium was to be built on; Mr. Powlson, in line with all other witnesses for the applicants, explained that he could not confirm anything about the possible compaction or how loud it would be.

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