PLANS by an engineering firm to move to an industrial estate have been recommended for approval, despite objections.

RS Hall Engineering is hoping to move from Chapel Street in Thirsk to the site of a former print works in a corner of the town's industrial estate.

The business manufactures parts for agricultural machinery.

Hambleton District Council's planning rules stipulate that the area should only be used by 'quiet' industries, designated B1. Residents say that if the plans are approved, the council would be contravening its own regulations.

But council officers believe that noise assessments have shown the business would not have an adverse effect on people living nearby and have recommended that the plan is approved.

Planning officer Tim Wood said: "The decision to restrict the north-west corner to B1 use did not remove the prospect of other uses being approved subsequently.

"The proposal will not give rise to conditions that would be prejudicial to the character of the area or cause a significant adverse effect on residential amenity."

But neighbours disagree. Some say that noise problems cannot be avoided and others believe that the council is setting a dangerous precedent. One said: "I cannot be convinced of the claim that the soundproofing of the premises could possibly eliminate the noise generated from the engineering company. I also feel there is no way the efficacy of the soundproofing can be provided without the engineering company actually operating in the proposed premises."

A joint letter from three residents said: "If this application is allowed to succeed, then the whole basis of allocating areas for B1 will be severely undermined and will set a very dangerous precedent for the future protection of residential amenity.

"The whole issue of delving into noise assessments is nothing more than a smokescreen and is in our opinion irrelevant.

"What matters is surely the use to which a building is put, not the construction of the said building."

Members of the council's development control committee will consider the planning application on Thursday.