Appeal against Planning Permission for 5G Mast in Old Windsor, refused by RBWM officers, dismissed by Planning Inspector

The Inspector has just dismissed the appeal by MBNL to site a 15m 5G pole on Straight Road in Old Windsor because essentially it would not look great in that area, too big and wouldn’t fit in with rest of the street scene.

You can see the full application and all the documents on the RBWM Planning Portal, search 20/02436.

This is great news as it sets a precedent in the area which can then be used against other applications.

How The Planning Process Works

The telcos put in a planning application which has to be responded to within 56 days in the case of telecom masts.

The applications are posted on the council planning portal.

Residents can then respond if they know it is there. You can sign up to the portal to get emails when new applications matching certain criteria are published.

Parish Councils and Resident Associations are particularly good at keeping their eyes open for new applications and are also skilled at responding.

Your response needs to be based on Planning Law. This starts with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and then we have other local documents:

The council officers will then review the applications and make their recommendation based on the above documents.

If refused then the applicant has a right of appeal and this is then reviewed by a Planning Inspector.

In the case of the Old Windsor 15m mast the Inspector’s decision can be read in full below…

Appeal Decision
Site visit made on 27 April 2021 by J P Longmuir BA (Hons) DipUD MRTPI an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State
Decision date: 12 May 2021
Appeal Ref: APP/T0355/W/20/3265640
Straight Road, Old Windsor, Maidenhead, SL4 2LA
• The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant approval required under a development order.
• The appeal is made by MBNL against the decision of Council of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
• The application Ref 20/02436, dated 14 September 2020, was refused by notice dated 6 November 2020.
• The development proposed is telecommunications upgrade: 15.0m AGL Phase 8 monopole c/w wrapround cabinet at base and associated ancillary works.

  1. The appeal is dismissed.
    Procedural Matter
  2. The provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 as amended (GPDO 2015), under Article 3(1) and Schedule 2, Part 16, Class A, Paragraph A.3(4) require the local planning authority to assess the proposed development solely on the basis of its siting and appearance, taking into account any representations received. My determination of this appeal has been made on the same basis.
    Planning Policy
  3. The principle of development is established by the GPDO 2015 and the provisions of Schedule 2, Part 16, Class A of the GPDO 2015 do not require regard be had to the development plan. I have had regard to the policies of the development plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (Framework) only in so far as they are a material consideration relevant to matters of siting and appearance.
    Main Issue
  4. The main issue is the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area.
  5. The appeal site is on a long and straight road, the A308, which connects two stretches of the River Thames. It also provides the approach to the parkland surrounds of Windsor Castle. In the other direction it also links Windsor to Runnymede and the Magna Carter Memorial.
  6. This road is aptly named for its straightness, which together with its size and very limited clutter, draw the eye along its length; there is also a sense of openness. Alongside the road are two storey well established dwellings which are set back to give an unassertive character.
  7. The appeal site is in a prominent position by the main road and would be readily visible. Whilst there would not be direct visibility between the appeal site and the parkland surrounding the Castle, it nonetheless forms the context, which becomes readily apparent at the end of the road.
  8. The appeal site environs are deferential to this approach to the Castle, but the mast would look obtrusive in an area of otherwise low height. It would attract undue attention and spoil the sense of arrival at the parkland surrounding the Castle.
  9. The appellant’s statement quotes from an appeal decision (APP/N4205/W/20/3258648) in Bolton. However, the impact of a mast will depend upon the particular characteristics of the area, and that location would be unlikely to be comparable to these particular surroundings.
  10. I therefore conclude that the proposal would harm the character and appearance of the area.
  11. Policy TEL1 of the Local Plan promotes mast sharing and seeks siting to minimise impacts, whilst policy DG1 requires respect for the townscape, particularly heights and roofscape. Paragraph 112 of the Framework emphasises the economic importance of telecommunications infrastructure. Paragraph 113 of the Framework stresses the need for sympathetic design. I have had regard to these policies, to which the proposal would conflict.
  12. The proposal is intended to improve the digital capacity of the area, serving two networks. It is also notable that the emergency services would also be able to share this facility. The appellants have also looked at alternative sites. However, these aspects do not outweigh the harm that I have found above.
  13. I therefore conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.
    John Longmuir

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