I’ve just had an email from The Harlequin Group about an upgrade to an existing telecoms mast requesting feedback within 14 days.
Since I represent residents of Clewer & Deworth West in Windsor I felt it appropriate for me to as residents for their thoughts on the subject.
Text highlighted in italics in the 2nd letter I have changed to bold to make it easier to read.
Please add a comment or email me firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback you’d like me to share with The Harlequin Group regarding this proposal by 31st March so I can compile and forward to them within their time frame.
Subject: Pre-application consultation for the Installation of telecommunications equipment at Oakley Green Maidenhead Road, Maidenhead Road, Oakley Green, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5UD
Dear Councillor Davey,
I am contacting you from the Harlequin Group who have been appointed as the planning agent to manage network improvements within the Council’s jurisdiction and in relation to this proposal within the Coulsdon Ward.
Please find the attached letter regarding the pre-application consultation for upgrading the existing telecommunications infrastructure at Oakley Green, Maidenhead Road, Maidenhead Road, Oakley Green, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5UD. Also attached are drawings which include the siting, layout and design of the proposed infrastructure.
Should you require any further information regarding the proposal, please do not hesitate to contact me direct either by email of by phone on the contact numbers provided below.
We look forward to receiving any comments you may have. It would be greatly appreciated if you could forward your comments or if preferred contact within 14 days of the date this email is received.
Vodafone Ltd and Telefónica UK Ltd
Dear Cllr Davey,
Mobile Connectivity – Industry Best Practice Informal Engagement Installation of radio apparatus at Oakley Green Maidenhead Road, Maidenhead Road, Oakley Green, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5UD (Cellnex Site Ref: 259013 – Project Number 226868).
We write in connection with a proposal by Vodafone Ltd and Telefónica UK Ltd, in conjunction with Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), to share the existing electronic communications site, which is managed by Cellnex.
There is a specific need for new apparatus to deliver mobile connectivity to meet the Government’s Digital Strategy and bring about the significant benefits associated with this advanced next generation mobile connectivity.
In this case the operators already have a base station operating from the site with services integrated into their wider mobile networks, so the option of developing an alternative site is not a realistic proposition as it would cause undue delay and disruption to mobile connectivity in the area. The proposed development therefore entails replacing / installing onto the rooftop. The enclosed drawings provide further details of the siting and the design of the development.
As the existing radio mast has insufficient space and capacity to accommodate the necessary radio apparatus to provide improvements to mobile connectivity, there is a need to extend the existing radio mast.
The proposed development therefore entails extending the existing tower by 5 metres to a new height of 25m. There will be a 5m latticework Swan 10PH extension to the existing lattice tower upon which will be deployed 3 x new antenna and ancillaries at 24m and 1 x GPS Module at 25.2m. The enclosed drawings provide further details of the siting and the design of the development.
National Planning Policy
Planning policy is provided at the national level by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It is a material consideration in planning decisions. The NPPF directly addresses the need for enhanced wireless communication services, first mentioned in paragraph 20, which states that an LPA’s strategic policies must make sufficient provision for:
“b) infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, security, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management, and the provision of minerals and energy (including heat)”
Leading on from this, paragraph 112 states that “Advanced, high quality and reliable communications infrastructure is essential for economic growth and social well-being. Planning policies and decisions should support the expansion of electronic communications networks, including next generation mobile technology and full fibre broadband connections…’
While supported in principle, paragraph 113 of the NPPF retains the requirement to minimise the number of installations consistent with the efficient operation of the network but also includes being consistent with the needs of consumers and providing reasonable capacity for future expansion. This is consistent with the guidance on siting and appearance principles set out in Appendix 1 of the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development in England (24 November 2016), with the sequential approach for operators including;
• Mast and/or site sharing (including redevelopment of a site to enable upgrade or sharing with another operator);
• Installation on existing buildings and structures;
• Erecting new ground-based masts;
The NPPF clearly acknowledges the benefits of modern electronic communications and seeks to encourage such development as being essential due to their role in supporting a modern economy, contributing to sustainable objectives, and enhancing local community access to a range of goods and services. Local planning authorities are advised to respond positively to proposals for electronic communications development and this must include an understanding of the associated special problems and technical needs of developing and upgrading communications networks. Public benefits are defined within the NPPG and could be anything that delivers economic, social or environmental progress. Benefits do not always have to be visible or accessible to the public in order to be genuine public benefits.
While all development proposal will have some localised impacts, it is considered that in this instance any such impact would be minimal and therefore acceptable in the planning balance when considered alongside the benefits of providing the operators advanced network coverage and the extent to which the proposal meets local and national town planning policies. Furthermore, Paragraph 116 of the NPPF states that “Local planning authorities must determine applications on planning grounds only.
They should not seek to prevent competition between different operators, question the need for an electronic communications system, or set health safeguards different from the International Commission guidelines for public exposure”.
The proposed development therefore accords with all relevant aspects of the NPPF in respect of sustainable development and providing advanced, high quality and reliable communications infrastructure, while ensuring any resultant perceived visual impacts are minimal.
We look forward to receiving any comments you may have on this proposal. It would be greatly appreciated if you could either forward any comments you may have within the next 14 days.