New 'shot blasting site' at Colyton approved

east devon

Location of shot blaster north of Harbour Close, Combpyne. - Credit: Google Maps.

An application for a shot blasting operation at Combpyne,  has been approved by East Devon District Council (EDDC) for the third time of asking.

The site is on the hamlet between Colyton and Lyme Regis. 

The retrospective application by local business owner Mark Perry for the site north of Harbour Close, Combpyne, caused controversy between neighbours with claims that antipathy for the application was 'mostly driven by personal animosity over historic and unrelated disagreements'.

Shot blasting machines work by launching abrasive material under high pressure to remove oxides and other debris from another surface. Like sandblasting, it can be used to shape or smooth rough surfaces.

Objectors said shot blasting is too noisy and is spoiling the nearby countryside environment.

The application had been initially rejected by planners in February. However, as the meeting was online, the decision required formal sign off by senior officers. They were concerned Mr Perry would win the application on appeal, costing the council money. As a result, officers asked councillors to reconsider the application in March.

At that planning meeting, members deferred a decision for a site visit, which was carried out Monday, April] 25, ahead of the final decision.

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Speaking against the application at EDDC’s planning committee, nearby resident Pat Whitworth said the shot blaster creates 'constant, intrusive industrial noise'.

Claims were also made that councillors did not hear the shot blaster in full use on their site visit, – something which senior officers dismissed. 

Councillor Ian Thomas (Independent, Trinity ward) described the operation as “fundamentally inappropriate” for the local area.  Combpyne and Rousdon Parish Council were also against the application.

Speaking in favour, resident Gail Beecroft said: “When any perceived change occurs it may be difficult to absorb. Taking a step back is needed. Enjoying and focusing on the positive and not letting our thoughts take over the reality.

“This planning application has become very personal and it’s almost like the need to win has overcome village cohesiveness or any understanding of planning.”

Another supporter, April Moore, who is a neighbour of the applicant, said: “This matter is no longer about the noise but about winning and seems to have become an obsession for some, mostly driven by personal animosity over historic and unrelated disagreements.”

Ms Moore said the controversy over the application had led to her being made to feel very uncomfortable on her own property.

An earlier report from EDDC’s environmental health officer concluded that the shot blasting wouldn’t create an unacceptable level of noise.

The report concluded:  “It is fair to say that due to the difference in the type of noise (mechanical noise in a rural setting), there will be a small change in the acoustic environment and the noise may be heard on some occasions. 

“However, this is considered to be a low level noise for a short duration. It’s considered that it will not have a detrimental effect on the use of private gardens or the wider AONB [area of outstanding natural beauty].”

Insulation was installed by Mr Perry last year to reduce noise from the operation.

Planners voted unanimously in favour of granting retrospective approval to the operation. As a condition of this approval, shot blasting will only be allowed between 9am. and noon. Mondays to Fridays, with no activity allowed on weekends or bank holidays.