Edmonton Methodist Church, London

This case study covers how we worked with our client, Saville Jones Consultants, to help them build a strong case based on noise grounds to achieve planning permission for a mixed-use site in North London, comprising residential units and an active Methodist church.

The client challenge

The challenge was to gain planning consent for the redevelopment of a mixed-use site in Edmonton, North London. The project included the modernisation of an existing, active church building and the construction of a separate four-storey residential block, all of which is situated next to a busy high street.

Unique project considerations

One of the main objectives was to ensure that the noise emissions from church activity do not adversely affect the amenity of properties in the proposed residential block and existing surrounding residential premises. A typical church service at Edmonton Methodist Church includes periods of amplified music along with congregational singing. As there is the potential for a high level of noise to build up within the church’s main hall, the level of noise transmitted through the external facades of the church required consideration.

The southern and eastern facades of the proposed residential block will also be exposed to high levels of traffic noise from the A1010, Fore Street.

Understanding the noise impacts

At the stage we were brought in to the project, the site layout had already been designed, therefore our responsibility was to set out criteria with consideration to British Standard 8233 and World Health Organisation Guidelines. These provide guideline values for suitable internal noise levels within residential rooms.

With regard to ‘noise’, a church is regarded as a commercial space – specifically a live music venue. However, unlike conventional music venues, the church would operate early on Sunday mornings. Therefore, a discussion with the London Borough of Enfield was required to set bespoke criteria, safeguarding the amenity of both current and future residential premises.

Initially, we undertook a baseline noise survey to gain an understanding of the noise levels exposed to the proposed residential block and surrounding properties. Using the gathered data, calculations were carried out to inform the glazing and ventilation specification required to satisfy the internal ambient noise criteria.

Measurements were taken within the church main hall to determine the noise level during a typical service. This was then used to produce a 3D model of the redeveloped church using the noise-modelling suite Cadna/A to predict the level of noise breakout at the surrounding residential premises. These levels were then compared to the baseline noise levels to determine the noise impact in accordance with the local authority’s criteria. See below for some of the images from this stage of the work.

The outcome

We provided the local authority with a detailed noise report, helping our client to build a strong case to achieve planning permission for the development.

Places of worship pose multiple acoustic challenges and it was great to be involved at the planning stage here. More often we are brought in to help resolve issues in existing places of worship, particularly with improving the acoustics so that speech and sermons can be heard clearly, improving spaces for vibrant music, ensuring quiet for reflection and prayer, alongside the reduction of congregational noise transmission to neighbours.

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