Betreff: Appeal success
Von: Eileen O'Connor
Datum: Sat, 7 Oct 2006 11:55:52 +0100



Wednesbury Action for the Removal of Telephone masts.


W-A-R-T are pleased to advise that with our assistance, local residents and Councillors have won an appeal by Vodaphone for a Street Pole mast being sited in Wednesbury in a residential area. This appeal followed two refusals by the Council Planning Officers to allow this application following a vigorous campaign from residents in the area. 


Reasons given by the inspector state:-


"5)  I consider the main issue in this appeal to be the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area. I have also considered the effects of the proposal on the health and amenity of local residents, and whether there are any available alternative sites which would provide similar coverage and have less environmental impact.


6) The appeal sire lies at the junction of two busy roads. The buildings on the corner properties are oriented so as to face the corner. This gives the junction a sense of spaciousness. The proposed equipment would be set in an exposed position, close to the corner. in front of an open car park.

The 15 m high tree in Woden Road East is set some distance from the appeal site and would offer only limited screening of the mast in views from the nearby road. The smaller trees adjoining Crankhall lane would offer even less in terms of mitigating the visual impact of the proposal. The proposed slimline real timber telegraph pole with shrouded antennas would be set well forward of the public house and would be a prominent feature in the street scene. It would not only add significantly to the clutter of street furniture around this road junction, which includes several meter cabinets, lamp posts and a street sign board, but would dominate this corner. I do not accept the Appellant's view in this information in support of the application that the pole has been designed to mimic, as far as possible, existing street lamps in the vicinity. I consider that it would appear as an intrusive utilitarian structure that would harm the character and appearance of the area.


7)    I acknowledge there is a need for the equipment because of an existing gap in the telecommunications coverage. The Appellant considered a number of alternative options and sites. I am satisfied that there are sound technical and operational reasons why these do not provide a realistic alternative to the appeal proposal. However, there is nothing in the information before me to indicate that "swapping out" of one of the many lamp posts near this junction has been considered as an option. I consider that this would be likely to have significantly less impact on the street scene than the appeal proposal. The Estates Valuer from Sandwell MBC advised the Appellant   by letter dated January 2007 (Which should have been 2006), that the Council had resolved not to allow mobile phone equipment to be sited on any Council owned land and premises. However, it is not clear whether consideration has specifically been given to the possibility of a lamp post swap out. I am not, therefore, convinced that a sufficiently rigorous search has been conducted to justify what I have found would be an insensitive scheme.


8)    I find, on the evidence before me, that it has not been demonstrated that the proposed development is the least environmentally damaging option to provide the required coverage. On this basis, the scheme does not accord with Sandwell MBC Unitary Development Plan 2004 Policy TEI, which aims to minimise the impact on amenity. It is also at odds with the advice in PPG8. I do not consider that the benefits of the additional coverage would be sufficient to outweigh the harm I have identified.


9)    I have taken into account local concerns about the health and amenity of those living and working nearby and attending local schools. health concerns can be a material consideration, but the Appellant has confirmed that the installation would comply with the guidelines published by the ICNIRP on limiting exposure to radio waves. PPG8 advises that in these circumstances it should not be necessary to consider further the health aspects and concerns about them. I find no reason here to outweigh Government advice about the health implications of masts.


10)    I have taken into account all other matters raised in evidence, but have found nothing to outweigh the main considerations that lead to my conclusion. For the reasons given above and having regard to all other matters raised, I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.


John Woolcock