Friday, 20 July 2018

Fan noise means we can’t stay in our own home

A MAN from Henley says he is unable to sit in his garden because an extractor fan at a neighbouring restaurant makes so much noise

A MAN from Henley says he is unable to sit in his garden because an extractor fan at a neighbouring restaurant makes so much noise.

Deon Melck, who lives in Hart Street, says he and his wife Gill are plagued by noise for more than 12 hours at a time from the nearby Cau steak restaurant a few doors down.

Mr Melck even suggested that the couple may have to move temporarily if the problem isn’t solved soon.

He told the Henley Standard he first noticed the racket about two weeks ago and initially believed it was coming from the Giggling Squid restaurant.

“I just heard this noise and I thought ‘what the heck is going on here? It sounded like a lawnmower. I walked up the road, I had a look at the Giggling Squid and they said it’s not them, it’s the property next door. I walked into Cau and complained and then I wrote an email to the head office.

“It’s totally unacceptable. The question I have is did they need planning permission to put this equipment in and, if they did, who approved it?

“If it has not been approved I would like it to be shut down immediately. No consultation took place at all. My neighbour next door she’s just as upset about it as we are because it’s right next door to her. I can’t believe they were as crass as to put this thing in and not check with anybody.

“We’ll have to go and rent another house and they’ll have to pay for it. We would certainly have to consider it. It’s horrible, I like to go out in the garden every day.”

He added: “It starts sometime between 10am and 11am and it goes on until midnight, depending on whether they have got people in the restaurant or not.” Mr Melck, a former chairman of Phyllis Court Club, continued: “Luckily, we went away because my grandchildren were here from Germany and we were away for three days in Lyme Regis so we didn’t have the inconvenience.

“We came back and the kids are kept inside the house because they don’t want to be listening to all this noise. We want to have a barbecue but there’s no way we can sit outside.”

Mr Melck said the fan could also be heard when the couple, who have lived at the property for almost three years, were in their dining room with the skylight open. “I take a lot of pride in my garden. I spent £12,000 creating it,” he added. “We would spend three to four hours there a day.”

Mrs Melck said: “It’s absolutely ghastly. I would have thought they would have to have planning permission. It’s almost like having tinnitus in your ear because it’s there all the time. It’s horrid I’m afraid. We love our garden, we have really tried to get it looking decent so we can sit outside there with friends.”

Her husband has written to Cau and Henley Town Council asking for action to be taken and believes cladding would reduce the noise.

Their son Andrew, who was visiting from Germany, added: “The back garden is normally quiet. As you can tell the front of the property is pretty loud because of the road.

“It’s really nice and quiet but they put this thing in a few days ago and now it’s so loud you have to play music if you don’t want to hear the continuous drone from this machine. It’s really loud. It’s a high whining sound,” he added.

“They wouldn’t care whether it’s there or not, they just don’t want it to make that noise. It needs some kind of muffling or something at least that might be a solution. I was surprised to suddenly be embroiled in a neighbourly dispute of this nature!”

Aisha Stevens, from Cau Henley, emailed Mr Melck saying: “I immediately informed our head office and our engineer about what you have told us. I would like to reassure you that we do not take this issue lightly, it is our utmost priority to resolve this matter. We have no wish to disrupt you, our neighbours, and hope that you will bear with us whilst we correct the situation urgently. Once again, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will keep you updated with all progress for your peace of mind.”

Cau opened in January 2015 at the former La Bodega premises, a Spanish tapas restaurant, following a £1 million refurbishment. It is part of a chain inspired by Argentinian cuisine.

The matter was discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of the town council’s planning committee.

Town clerk Janet Wheeler advised that the matter be referred to the environment officer at South Oxfordshire District Council. She said: “I had lunch there last week with friends and it is quite noisy.”

Deputy Mayor Will Hamilton added: “The extractor fan is a problem, no doubt about that.”

A spokeswoman for Cau refused to comment.

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