Planning Portal

DCAN 4: Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Outlets
Noise Disturbance

5.3 Whilst residential areas are likely to be sensitive to noise disturbance, it can also be a serious problem in town centres and in areas where commercial activities dominate but where there may be residential accommodation beside or over the proposed use.
5.4 Noise associated with restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets emanates from a variety of sources, the main ones being:
  • vehicles - starting, revving of engines, screeching of tyres, sounding of horns, radios playing, opening and closing of doors, manoeuvring;
  • people - the comings and goings of customers and staff (talking, shouting);
  • use of equipment associated with catering establishments.
5.5 These sources of noise are especially noticeable in the late evening when local residents have a legitimate expectation that surrounding background noise levels will remain low. In that respect, take-away uses, which often generate frequent vehicle and pedestrian movements, can be particularly annoying and unacceptable. The weight that the Department will attach to noise disturbance will be greater where there is an increased likelihood that customers will seek to park close to the premises, or in nearby residential streets.
5.6 Objections to planning proposals, based on the harmful effects of noise, may, however, be overcome by means of planning conditions attached to a grant of permission in appropriate cases. If the Department is not satisfied that such objections can be overcome by the imposition of conditions, the application will be refused.
Conditions designed to prevent noise disturbance will generally involve or require some, or all of the following: -
  • Restrictions on hours of opening (in predominantly residential areas).
  • Restrictions on Sunday opening.
  • Restrictions on the use of land within the curtilage of the premises e.g. open areas at the front or rear of the premises.
  • Sound-proofing of the premises i.e. walls and ceilings.
  • Double-glazing of windows and installation of self-closing external doors.
  • The prevention or restriction of live or amplified music.
  • The installation and maintenance of any necessary equipment.
  • Restriction on customer numbers/floorspace.
  • Restrictions on servicing.
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