Father takes his child out of Northampton school due to concerns about noise level of nearby development

Castle Primary School, St Georges Street, Northampton
Castle Primary School, St Georges Street, Northampton

A father claims “excessively loud noise” of a school conversion in Northampton is posing a risk to the hearing of pupils at a nearby primary school.

After measuring the decibel level next to his child’s classroom at Castle Academy last week, Andy Burden took the decision to take his daughter home as he believed the noise could have damaged her hearing.

The work is being carried out on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office off Barrack Road, which is being converted into a large primary and secondary school.

Mr Burden said: “I measured the decibels at 8.45am, it is by no means the loudest work that has taken place to date, but gave me immediate and severe cause for concern.

“The peak was 108 decibels, and it is peaking every few minutes. 110 decibels for more than one hour risks serious damage to hearing. The work is continuous.

“There is no provision for reducing the noise - there should be a sound barrier at the very least. However, the safest provision would be that the heavy building/destruction work should not be taking place during school time as originally planned.”

Mr Burden has now allowed his child to go back to school as some concessions have been made to reduce the noise level, such as spraying the rubble with water.

He has also contacted his MP, David Mackintosh, who has asked Northampton Borough Council’s Environmental Health department to look into the noise levels.

A spokesman for the EMLC Trust, who sponsor Castle Academy and are in charge of the Barrack Road conversion project, said, as soon as the trust became aware that there was an issue they contacted the Project Manager at Northamptonshire County Council and the site manager.

A spokesman said it has been agreed that the crusher that was making the most noise will be moved further away from the school. In addition the times that it will be in use will be limited, to times agreed with the school, that will limit the impact.

The stockpiled crushed material will be lowered to a level that ensures it is below the fence line between the site and the school.

“Dust busters” will be installed on site. These spray fine water over the debris to prevent dust blowing onto the school site.

A fine mesh sheet will also be installed across the rear fence line of the site to prevent any small debris being blown across.

Duncan Mills, Managing Director of EMLC Academy Trust said, “The safety and well-being of the pupils at our schools is always the priority. We appreciate that, as soon as we made the council aware of the issues they immediately visited the school and came up with the agreed actions.”