Air unit noise like ‘torture’

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A fed-up family say they have been ‘tortured’ by years of incessant noise from an air handling unit metres from their home.

Chris and Meredith Topliss have to choose between listening to the loud hissing at night, or be too warm to sleep with the windows closed in their third summer battling the problem.

The unit on top of King Edward Swimming Pool in Broomhill runs all day and can be heard through the double glazing of their nine-year-old son Oscar’s bedroom window 15metres away.

The King Edward Swimming Pool Trust - a charity which runs the pool on a voluntary basis - said it is working ‘tirelessly’ to fix the problem and several additional works have been carried out since the unit was installed in May 2012.

Dad-of-two Chris, of College Street, said: “This is the third summer we feel we are being tortured.

“In the summer it is just dreadful. We are faced with stuffy rooms or a noisy night – it affects everything and just doesn’t stop.

“You can hear it through the double glazing – it’s like a kettle boiling forever.

“It has only been off once, in July 2013, and then it was so quiet it was blissful.”

The family say they have exchanged hundreds of emails with Sheffield Council planners but the response has been ‘woefully inadequate’.

Environmental health officers visited for the first time only yesterday to take a sound reading.

The unit was found to be in breach of planning conditions and causing noise ‘disamenity’ to neighbours.

Guy Rusling, of the KESP Trust, claimed the unit was quieter than the last one, although it ran for longer, and only the family had complained.

There have been four rounds of adaptations - most recently three weeks ago - at significant cost, and the trust had questioned the manufacturer and installation contractors on why it did not meet conditions.

He stressed the pool had provided swimming for the community for 21 years and trustees had sympathy with the family.

Mr Rusling said: “We are diligently and as readily as one can addressing the issue. We will remedy it, it is just a costly and time consuming process.”

Sheffield Council said it acknowledged the plant was still ‘not operating satisfactorily’ and was working with the applicant to resolve it.

A spokesman added: “After works in July failed to reduce noise levels sufficiently, a further breach of condition notice will be served to address the failure to comply with planning conditions.

“We will continue to work with the applicant to resolve this issue so this valuable community facility can remain operational, while ensuring residents are not subjected to unacceptable noise levels.”

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