A decision on contentious plans to keep biomass boilers operating in a West Cumbria hamlet has been deferred due to concerns over the applicant’s noise report.

E Gate had applied to Allerdale Council for retrospective planning permission to house the boilers in farm buildings at Langrigg Hall in Langrigg and increase the height of associated flues.

The application was due to be considered by the council’s development panel but a decision was deferred after the authority received detailed survey notes on the site’s background noise levels from the applicant’s noise consultant this week.

A statement from Sian Tranter, the council’s environmental protection manager, was read at a virtual meeting of the panel yesterday, expressing concern about “anomalies” between the notes and noise report and recommending deferral.

She said: “Following the submission of the detailed survey notes in respect of the background noise levels at location B that informed the applicant’s noise report, it became evident that there were anomalies between the raw detailed survey notes and the conclusions reached within the final report.

“In view of this information, we do not agree with the conclusions for the daytime background noise levels at location B.

“We would not normally require such raw survey notes – i.e., the handwritten, signed notes – to be provided when reports are authored by reputable specialists, hence we made no requests until now.

“However, having now been furnished with such information, we can no longer recommend at this juncture that permission be granted.

“Our position is one of concern.

“It is reasonable though to provide an opportunity for the applicant to respond to these new comments and so we will be recommending that the application be deferred at the development panel.”

Simon Sharp, the council’s planning and building control manager, agreed with deferral to allow officers to examine the information in more detail, the applicant to respond to the council’s comments and all parties including local residents and councillors to be able to give feedback.

Councillor Nicky Cockburn, who chairs the panel, put forward a motion to defer which all members voted in favour of.

The application had initially been recommended for approval by planners, despite objections from local residents, parish councillors and the borough council’s acting leader Mike Johnson about noise, smoke and smells.

A second, related application for change of use of a building on the site was also deferred.