PLANS to expand a woodland wedding business have been met by backlash from residents who fear more parties and music will ‘damage peace and tranquillity’.
People living close to the Tournerbury Woods Estate on Hayling Island have expressed the concern after its owners had a retrospective planning application validated in November.
The document was lodged with Havant Borough Council in a bid to enable the site to host up to 200 weddings per year between May and October as part of an ongoing growth plan.
But residents say noise pollution from an increased party presence would impinge on their quality of life.
For 10 years John Galyer has lived in Salterns Close near My Lords Pond – a creek bordered by the Tournerbury estate.
‘Over the past three or four years the business has picked up and what is really noticeable now where I live is when weddings are held you get a lot of music booming across the creek,' the 74-year-old said.
‘Others find if they are going to bed with the window open because it’s hot they are met with a big bass noise from the marquee at Tournerbury.
‘In this planning application they are talking about running up to 200 weddings for up to 500 people but this noise is already having a material effect on peoples’ lives.
‘We have nothing against the business and if it brings money into the local economy that is very good news.
‘But that should not come at the detriment of the quality of life of people living in the area.’
A third-generation business run for 28 years, the owners of the Tournerbury Estate estimate they currently put on between 50 and 60 weddings each summer season.
In response to their plans for expansion more than 80 public comments have been made on Havant Borough Council’s online planning portal – in both opposition and support.
One backer said: ‘The management of Tournerbury Woods Estate are to be applauded for looking after the woods with diligence and affection for more than 30 years – applying rural nous to assure this natural asset remains for generations to enjoy.’
They added: ‘This would not be possible without the highly-popular wedding venue and related ventures.’
Meanwhile, a respondent opposed to the venue’s plans said other messages of support came from ‘people who got married at the venue’ – whose ‘happy’ days had ‘come at the expense of those living in the area having to put up with noise and disturbance.’
An owner of Tournerbury Woods Estate, Christopher Snell said work to mitigate the issues highlighted in response to the planning application was taking place.
‘We were disheartened to learn that a campaign of objections had been created against our family business that brings huge benefits to the island as a whole and its tourism trade,’ the 47-year-old said.
‘The Snell family have conserved Tournerbury since 1932 and have hosted events since 1990. As third-generation islanders, we have historically worked with fellow local residents to ensure proactive management of potential disturbance.
‘Ironically, the successful running of Tournerbury as a venue over three decades has paid for expensive habitat, tree and seawall maintenance costs and so preserved the lovely views that many of the complainants enjoy, without any cost to themselves.
‘Nonetheless, we are working with our acoustic consultants to create further sound mitigation to our nearest complainant neighbours who are a minimum of 350 metres away and look forward to meeting the complainants face to face to discuss their issues, where factual, hopefully to satisfactory resolution.’
The planning application is currently listed to be determined by a delegated decision – meaning it could be granted or denied by a council planning officer.