50+ Objections v 1 Supporter Officially Registered for 5G Application for Ruddlesway

Thank you to everyone who put in an OBJECTION to application 21/01269 including Windsor Neighbourhood Plan, The Windsor & Eton Society, Bray Parish Council and Oakley Green & Fifield Residents Association.

The beauty about the organisations above responding is that they have a strong understanding of planning law and so know which laws to quote inorder to make their point in a succinct and powerful way, creating “weight” for their view point.

The balance of weight is how planning decisions are made. Which argument carries the most weight will win the day. Humans make the decisions… so how they distribute the weight will vary based on many factors. Professionals hopefully less influenced by personal reasons.

Most of us simply speak from the heart about what we like or don’t like and this has relevance in showing the strength of feeling but the main thing that planning officers have to consider are the laws of the land as laid out by:

  • Government in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
  • Then down to local laws in the Borough Local Plan (BLP)
  • And the Windsor Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) that came into full force after the elections earlier in the month
  • Plus other documents that currently carry weight

Just after the recent elections, a Planning Inspector rejected the appeal by the telecoms company for a 5G Mast in Old Windsor which informed my 3rd letter of Objection. The first based on it’s bulk being inappropriate for the area and the 2nd off the back of the WNP being voted through and it giving the specific area “Local Green Space” status, giving it the same protection as green belt.

I do hope the planning officers agree with the residents and ask the telecoms company to find an alternative site for their mast or pole as they tend to call them in planning.

If you search the RBWM Planning portal for the word “Pole” you will see 28 applications for new 5G Masts since January 2020 and most will just sail through, no objections raised as local Councillors pay little or no attention to the planning applications.

Councillors get a pre-application notification from the telco representatives, as they have to. After objecting to one in Oakley Green, the company representing the telco strongly recommended that I not share further information with residents!

Helen Leonard, RBWM’s Arboricultural Coordinator, wrote this which almost reads like poetry, enjoy…

Within a short distance of the stem, the roots of trees are highly branched, so as to form a  network of small-diameter woody roots, which can extend radially for a distance much greater than the height of the tree, except where impeded by unfavourable conditions. All parts of this system bear a mass of fine, non-woody absorptive roots, typically concentrated within the uppermost 600mm of the soil. The root system tends to develop sufficient volume and area to provide physical stability. The uptake of water and mineral nutrient by the root system takes place via the fine non-woody roots and associated beneficial fungi. Their survival and functioning, which are essential for the health of the tree as a whole, depend on the maintenance of favourable soil conditions. All parts of the root system, but especially the fine roots, are vulnerable to damage. BS5837:2012 ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – Recommendations’ gives information on determining a root protection area (RPA). This is the minimum area around a tree deemed to contain sufficient roots and rooting volume to maintain the tree’s viability, and where the protection of the roots and soil structure is treated as a priority. 

There is a semi-mature Ostrya carpinifolia (European hop-hornbeam) on the verge which requires a radial root protection area of 3m. The nearest proposed cabinet comes up to the edge of this 3m root protection area. Unless the applicant can demonstrate how they will adequately protect the tree during the installation of the cabinet, the cabinet will need to be moved so that it is no closer than 4m from the stem of the tree to allow for working space. If the cabinet is moved out to 4m from the tree stem, a tree protection plan will be required, but only needs to cover the location and type of temporary fencing. This information must be submitted prior to the determination of the application. 

A new tree in this wide verge, in the south east sector, would provide some screening to the installation when viewed from the south along Dedworth Road. This could be provided via a commuted sum, a standard tree 10-12cm girth would be appropriate, fees and charges can be viewed at https://www.rbwm.gov.uk/home/planning/tree-management/trees-and-highways-fees-and-licences 

Thank you everyone for your contributions.

Jon

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