UNPOPULAR plans to build a noisy car wash next to a special needs school and a housing development have been thrown out almost nine months after they were set to be given the go-ahead.

This news has delighted parents of children studying at Rise@GHC, who feared adding the car wash on Eastern Road would mean pupils would be unable to cope with the extra noise and disturbance from the site.

Marie-Anne Varela, a parent of a student of the school, told the News: “The strength of feeling over this decision cannot be underestimated in our special educational needs (SEN) community.

READ MORE: Car wash decision delayed after dispute over noise levels

“There was genuine concern and a real fear that the safety of our children was being compromised in the decision making over the suitability of the proposed location.

“Rise is a specialist SEN unit supporting children with significant mental and physical needs and the priority must firstly extend towards their wellbeing.

“I very much hope the owner will be assisted in finding a suitable alternative location.”

Another parent, Fran Griffin, added: “I am so pleased it’s been refused.

“Our Rise pupils have suffered so much these past few months during lockdown.

“The last thing they needed, was changes to their familiar environment, which could potentially lead to many sensory difficulties

“I am really pleased.”

The application was refused by the Planning Inspectorate after Bracknell Forest Council’s (BFC) planning committee delayed making a decision on the proposal in November 2019.

Councillors sitting on that committee decided they needed more information about noise levels from the car wash.

READ MORE: Tests shows 'terrible' car wash noise levels next to special needs school

The council’s own planning officers accepted a noise assessment from the applicants which claimed sound from jet washes, vacuums and cars would not reach a level unacceptable to children and residents.

However, a study from an acoustics company hired by neighbours living opposite at The Quarters housing development suggested the car wash would have had a greater noise impact than first thought.

Applicant Skender Pervana appealed BFC’s deferral of a decision, meaning the ultimate judgement on the proposal came down to the Planning Inspectorate, which is based in Bristol.

The Inspectorate noted BFC’s planning team did not dispute the noise levels handed to them by the applicants, before pointing out sound output at busier times, such as weekends, had not been properly considered in the submitted noise assessment.

The Inspectorate concluded: “It has not been demonstrated that there would be acceptable living conditions for nearby residents and school pupils.

“The development would result in adverse noise pollution to residents and school pupil living conditions.”

Kiran, a spokesperson for The Quarters Resident Association who spearheaded the fight against the plans by leading the commission of the acoustic research, told the News he was not happy with BFC’s handling of the application following the Inspectorate’s findings.

He said: “It is a joke.

“They have wasted my time as a resident.

“They should never have allowed it to get this far.”

Several councillors voiced their concerns to the Planning Inspectorate during the appeal process, including Tricia Brown, Mary Temperton, Tony Virgo and Ian Kirke.

READ MORE: Parents slam plans for car wash next to special needs school

Councillor Kirke, who also undertook his own noise level recordings at a similar car wash operation in November 2019, said he was "over the moon" after hearing about the verdict.

The Bullbrook representative's tests showed "beyond reasonable doubt" the sound levels from the similar car wash were much higher than the level the applicants suggested their equipment would reach.

Cllr Kirke also spoke at the November planning meeting where Kiran raised his concerns. 

He said: "The councillors were really impressed with Kiran but were also reassured at my technical specifications and agreed this needed to be reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate. 

"I think the council officers themselves will concede, perhaps in the future, if there is that counterclaim then they can use that to their advantage but it all worked out well in the end.  

"I think it's a good example of when there is a definite support from a big wedge of the community these things can work wonderfully together. 

"I'm really over the moon, I think it's a great local story."

Councillor Tony Virgo said: “The council thought it was fine but we thought it wasn’t for lots and lots of reasons.

“In the end, the Inspectorate agreed with us.

Asking if he thought the council should have been more proactive in getting independent noise assessment figures, Cllr Virgo added: “Yes I do.

“They [the applicants] have another operation in the East of England and I said ‘why can’t we go the environment [department] of that local council and ask them for a soundcheck?’

“But there were all kinds of reasons why they couldn’t do it.

“I do think it was a bit like being dragged through a hedge backwards.

“But I am really delighted the Inspectorate had the same view as us.”

Before the appeal was lodged, more than 150 objections to the plans were sent to Bracknell Forest Council from residents and parents of school children.

Speaking to the News, Councillor Brown said: “I know how important it was to the school that they didn’t have that noisy premises next to them.

“Those children need all the help they can get and it would have been awful if the proposal had gone ahead.

“I’m really grateful to Kiran for all the work he did, researching all the noise issues.

“I suppose the staff at the council have to follow what they can find out in the time available.

“It does require concerned neighbours to get involved with things like this, it does require the public to say what they think.

“It shows the importance of local people getting involved.”