Bath Chronicle 28.06.05

11:00 - 28 June 2005

A Mobile phone company has failed to overturn a council's decision to reject a plan for a 30-metre mast in a village near Bath. Telecommunications giant Orange has lost its appeal against the ruling by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The firm had applied for permission to build the slimline tower, six antennae, four dish antennae and six equipment cabins on land at Shockerwick Farm, Box Road, Bathford.

Bathford Parish Council objected to the scheme, saying it would detract significantly from the natural beauty and unspoilt character of the area, and 12 letters of opposition were sent by local residents.

The application was refused by B &NES councillors at a meeting in September 2004 on the grounds that the mast would spoil the appearance of the rural area, which is in the Green Belt.

And a Government planning inspector has now dismissed the appeal, agreeing the proposal would be inappropriate in the Green Belt. The inspector also said the structure would introduce a noticeable and intrusive urban feature, detracting from the landscape.

He accepted the need for further network coverage in the area, and that some searching for alternatives had been carried out.

But he concluded it was inadequate, and that the need did not outweigh the harm that would be caused.

The inspector added that the case for very special circumstances had not been proved.


Some councils across the UK are begining to say that it is a waste of time rejecting mast applications when the Inspectorate overturns their decision. This has happened in conservation areas and green belt. We have to somehow remind councils that both are still planning considerations! Any ideas?




I have also heard of Councils who think it is a waste of time refusing mast applications in green belts and protected conservation areas - this Bath Appeal dismissal is a good one to use when writing to Councils displaying the 'apathetic mode'.

I think that letters also need to go to the Planning Inspectorate's Chief Executive pointing out its gross inconsistency in allowing/dismissing mast appeals in 'protected areas', and posting them copies of actual appeal notices (allowed/dismissed) as evidence.

I shall be writing to the Inspectorate's Chief Executive again, using this Bath result, complaining about what happened here in Otterton where an Inspector allowed a mast that was unanimously refused by the Council, in an AONB next to the first natural World Heritage Site in a Coastal Conservation area.

After all, in the Government's PPG8 these protected Conservation areas and AONB's are supposed to be given priority over all other development. How can the Inspectorate be taken seriously when they are making such rubbish decisions and not protecting these 'Government protected' areas?!

The Bath decision is a good one and shows what is possible - what we need now are more good Inspectors like that one - Appeals should not be such a worrying "lottery'!

Best wishes



These are my views exactly, Jane, so perhaps we all need to send this to our local councils and to any area where this attitude prevails. We need to question this flouting of the planning laws, which are, all said and done, the laws of the land! Are we to become a lawless, undemocratic country under this present Government, at the mercy of mobile phone companies?



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Juni 2005

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