Thinking of refurbishing your store along with new refrigeration? Here is a saga for you to make of what you will (see, I'm not making any of this up, just retelling the stories, warts and all).
Mohammed Zaman, who runs Kimmeter Stores in Annan, way up in Dumfries, writes: "In September we had a shop refit from Jordon's Refrigeration in Oldham, who did a good job, by the way. As part of the refit we got a 3.5m remote dairy deck with the latest silent running remote condenser unit. The unit is sited on the floor and off the wall at the rear of the shop. The manufacturer's spec states that the unit has a noise level of 35 decibels from a specified distance."
He further writes that, above the shop, there are two local authority-owned flats. One of the tenants living in the flat immediately above complained to the environmental health office (EHO) about the noise levels and vibrations from the condenser.
"After a walk around the outside of the shop, the officer confirmed that there was a certain amount of noise coming from the unit," says Mohammed. "In the end a noise meter was installed in the complainant's premises to monitor the noise levels.
"The EHO quoted the World Health Organisation's mandate on noise pollution. The level should not exceed 30 decibels in the bedroom for a good night's sleep."
There was no immediate feedback so, after two weeks, Mohammed contacted the EHO for its findings. He was told: "There was no significant noise level registered; therefore, no further action."
You might think this was the end of it. Uh-uh. Mo adds: "This visit was followed by the nice man from the planning department - oh, sigh, where does this end?"
The planning department's findings were several. One: the business did not have planning permission for the condenser unit; two, it later clarified that none was necessary as the unit was hidden from public view by a 6ft wall.
And three: The business did not have permission for the wall erected to fence off the rear of the shop, which was put up about six months prior to the refit, to protect and hide from view the condenser unit planned as part of the refit.
As Mohammed ends his ironic and informative story: "Now, where did I put my building plans and regulations...?"