AGENDA ITEM 7
BOROUGH OF POOLE
PLANNING COMMITTEE – 27th January 2005
REPORT OF THE HEAD OF PLANNING DESIGN AND CONTROL SERVICES
HIGHWAY VERGE, COUNTY GATES ROUNDABOUT AND THE AVENUE, POOLE
1.Purpose of Report
1.1To consider the planning application for to erect a 24 metre high tree mast with 6 antennae, equipment cabin, electric meter cabinet and ancillary equipment within a 5 metre x 6 metre compound surrounding by timber fencing (application no. 04/33547/109/TE).
2.1That application 04/33547/109/TE be granted subject to the same conditions as attached to the report considered by this Committee on 16th December 2004 (attached as appendix 1) and those conditions specified in Section no.5 of this report.
3.1This application was reported to this Committee at its meeting on 16th December 2004 when consideration of the application was given and the resolution of the Planning Committee, was to delegate to the Head of Planning, Design & Control Services approval of the application, subject to no adverse comments being received from the Committee members during a site visit to a similar mast and confirmation that the proposal will not have an adverse impact upon a nearby gas main.
3.2The report considered by the Committee on 18th November 2004 is attached as Appendix 1.
4.1An accompanied site visit to a similar mast located within the New Forest was held on 23rd December 2004. Councillors Smith, Leverett, Gillard and Deas attended that site visit.
4.2The Members of the Planning Committee observed the erected tree mast and ancillary cabinet and indicated that although the tree mast was acceptable in terms of visual amenities (subject to additional branches being attached), the ancillary cabinet was considered to be too large and required further consideration.
4.3The applicant has reconsidered the siting of the proposed ancillary cabinets and submitted 9 options to the Local Planning Authority in order to resolve the issues.
4.4The case officer, thorough discussions with the Team Leader, has agreed that the preferred option will require the siting of 3 smaller cabinets within the compound around the base of the tree mast. It is considered that the proposed cabinets in this position will appear subservient within the street scene whilst preserving the visual amenities of the area.
4.5The enclosure positioned around the base of the tree mast will be reduced from 5 metre x 6 metre to 3.4 metre x 3.4 metre. The timber fencing will be removed and replaced by 1.8 metre high chain link fencing painted green, which will allow views through the enclosure. In addition to the landscaping proposed to further screen the enclosure, it is considered that the revised scheme will minimise visual harm and overcomes the concerns raised by the Planning Committee at their last meeting and during the site visit.
4.6The applicant has agreed to omit the originally proposed dishes so, the proposed tree mast will facilitate the installation of 6 antennas only.
4.7The existing gas main, is acknowledged by the applicant and its realignment will be covered within the arboricultural method statement, as required by condition no. 3 imposed on the officer’s report, attached as appendix 1.
4.8In order to preserve visual amenities in the longer term, if and when technological advances results in the tree mast and its antennas become redundant, then by condition the mast shall be removed and appearance of the land reinstated to its current state.
5.1It is recommended that Planning Permission be granted subject to the conditions imposed below and those specified in the officer’s report, attached as appendix 1: -
(1)The proposed tree mast, ancillary electrical cabinet and antennas hereby approved shall be removed from site and the land reinstated for amenity purpose once the installation becomes redundant for the reception or transmission of microwave radio energy due to technological advances in telecommunications.
To preserve the visual amenities of the area and in accordance with the thrust of PPG:8 Telecommunications and Policy BE10 of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted 2004)
(2)Prior to the implementation of the Planning Permission hereby approved, details of the external finishes to the trunk and foliage branches shall be agreed with the Local Planning Authority and thereafter implemented in accordance with those details.
To preserve the visual amenities of the area and in accordance with Policy BE10 of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted 2004)
HEAD OF PLANNING DESIGN AND CONTROL SERVICES
Planning file 04/33547/109/TE
Appendix 1: Report to Planning Committee 16th December 2004
Darryl Howells – Telephone 01202 633304
Case Officer:Mr D Howells
Site:Highway Verge, County Gates Roundabout, The Avenue, Branksome Park, Poole, Dorset
Date Received:21st October 2004
Agent:F P D Savills Wessex House Priors Walk East Borough Wimborne Dorset BH21 1PB
Development:Erect a 24 metre high tree mast with 6 antennae, 2 dishes, equipment cabin, electric meter cabinet and ancillary equipment within a 5 metre x 6 metre compound surrounding by timber fencing.
Ward:F 060 Canford Cliffs
The application is brought before the Members of the Planning Committee, as the application does not fall within the scheme of delegation.
The application site is currently used as highway verge, close to the junction of The Avenue with County Gates (Frizzell’s) Roundabout. The site is occupied by substantial trees, which offer significant amenity value to the character and appearance of the area. There is a pedestrian access adjacent to the grass verge leading northwards towards Westbourne and southward down The Avenue.
Relevant Planning History
There are a number of telecommunication installations located on the roof of the County Gates’ building, which is located nearby.
On 19th June 2003 the applicant gained planning permission to erect 6 pole mounted antennas and 2 dishes with an ancillary equipment on the roof of Country Gate House but is unable to implement the consent due to lack of third party consent.
To erect a 24-metre high “tree” mast with 6 antennae, 2 dishes, equipment cabin, electric meter cabinet and ancillary equipment within a 5 metre x 6-metre compound surrounding by timber fencing.
The Branksome Park, Canford Cliffs and & District Resident’s Association opposes the proposed development on the grounds of perceived health risks; damage to surrounding trees and visual intrusion.
21 individual letters of representation and a petition of 168 Signatures have been received objecting to the proposed development on the grounds of: -
- Visual intrusion within the street scene.
- Lack of publicity of the application.
- There may be other more suitable sites within the locality and
- Perceived health risks associated with telecommunication equipment.
Relevant Planning Policy
The following policies of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted 2004) are relevant:
BE1 – (Design Code)
BE10 – (Telecommunications)
NE27 – (Individual or grouped Trees)
Specifically Policy BE10 (Telecommunications) state, “Proposals for telecommunications installations will be permitted provided that:
i) their impact is minimised through careful design, siting and wherever possible, landscaping and the laying of cables underground;
ii) best use is made of existing structures in preference to new masts; and
iii) in conservation areas, they preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area.”
Having regard to the proposed siting and design of the mast, in my opinion, the proposed tree mast will not appear readily visually apparent amongst the grouping of existing trees. Furthermore there are 3 mature evergreen trees located to the north of the proposed installation, so the proposal would be screened by these trees when viewed from the roundabout, and conversely seen within their context when viewed from the south (The Avenue).
It is acknowledged that the proposed surrounding enclosure consisting of a 1.8 metre high close-boarded fence, painted green (by condition) will obscure some views across the grass verge however this impact is minor, relative to the overall impact of the scheme and will not result in demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the area.
Furthermore prior to the implementation of any approval, a landscaping scheme will be required for approval and thereafter implemented, in order to preserve the visual amenities of the high verge and obscure the ancillary equipment and fencing.
To preserve the long-term appearance of the tree mast, a condition will be imposed requiring the Applicant to submit on an annual basis, a report regarding the current appearance of the tree and outlining any maintenance/ repair work as required. Following receipt and approval of the report, its recommendations will thereafter be implemented.
The proposal for the installation of a “tree” mast is welcomed, considered that the proposal for an alternative tree design or a typical monopole could be unsightly and intrusive.
In terms of the perceived health risks linked to telecommunication installations, it is the Government’s firm view that the planning system is not the place for determining health safeguards. It remains Central Government’s responsibility to decide what measures are necessary to protect public health. Subject to the telecommunication installation meeting the approved guidelines for public exposure, it should not be necessary for a local planning authority, in processing an application for planning permission, to consider further aspects and concerns about them.
The supporting text to Policy BE10 of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted 2004) supports the Government’s guidance, commenting that “provided telecommunication proposals meet the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure, local planning authorities are advised against implementing their own locational criteria on health grounds”. This proposal does meet the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation) guidelines.
The application was publicised in accordance with the Council’s procedure, in terms of a site notice being posted adjacent to the application site, giving the statutory 21 days public notification period. Furthermore the Cerne Abbas Residents Association and Blenheim Management Company (opposite) were notified in writing after the application’s registration.
Overall it is considered that the proposed development accords within the provisions of Policy BE10 of the Local Plan and is therefore considered acceptable, subject to appropriate conditions.
Human Rights Act
In coming to this recommendation/decision consideration has been given to the rights set out in Article 8 (Right to Privacy) and Article 1 of the First Protocol (Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Possessions) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Subject to the following conditions
1 - GN010 (Detailed Permission - Time Expiry 5 Years (Standard))
The development to which this permission relates shall be begun not later than the expiration of five years beginning with the date of this permission.
By virtue of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
2 - Non Standard
The proposed mast shall be painted dark brown and the branches, electronics cabinet and fencing shall be painted "olive green" or in accordance with a colour to be agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority prior to their erection and thereafter, maintained as such.
The branches of the proposed tree mast hereby approved shall be maintained on a 6 monthly basis and where necessary replaced if damaged or in need of repair.
To maintain visual amenities within the street scene and in accordance with Policy BE10 of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted March 2004).
3 - Non Standard
Prior to the erection of the "tree" mast hereby approved, an arboricultural method statement providing comprehensive details of construction works in relation to trees shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority. All works shall subsequently be carried out in strict accordance with the approved details. In particular, the method statement must provide the following:-
a) a specification for protective fencing to trees during construction phases which complies with BS5837:1991 and a plan indicating the alignment of the protective fencing; and
b) a specification of the foundations for the "tree" mast hereby approved and the foundation within the enclosure;
for scaffolding and ground protection within tree protection zones in accordance with BS5837; and
c) plans and particulars showing the siting of the service and piping infrastructure.
In order that the Local Planning Authority may be satisfied that the trees to be retained on-site will not be damaged during the construction works and to ensure that as far as possible the work is carried out in accordance with current best practice and in accordance with Policy NE27 of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted 2004).
4 - Non Standard
The Applicant will prepare on an annual basis (from the date of the decision notice) a report regarding the current appearance of the tree mast hereby approved and any resultant repair works as required. The report shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority for its approval and its reccomendations will be implemented within 1 month of the Local Planning Authority's written approval or within a timescale to be agreed within the Local Planning Authority.
In order to retain control over the tree mast's appearance within the street scene and in accordance with Policy BE10 of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted 2004).
5 - LS060 (Screen Planting)
No development shall take place until a scheme of planting to provide screening of the timber enclosure, as shown on the approved site plan, consisting of suitable plants capable of growing to a height of 2.0 metres, has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority.
The approved scheme shall be fully implemented within 1 month of the completion of development. All planting shall be properly maintained for a period of 5 years and any plants which die, are removed or become damaged or diseased within this period shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of a similar size and the same species, unless the Local Planning Authority gives written consent to any variation. The screen shall be retained thereafter.
In the interests of the visual amenities of the locality and in accordance with Policy BE10 of the Poole Local Plan First Alteration (Adopted 2004).
1 - IN620 - Summary of Reasons for Decision
Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Amendment) Order 2003
The proposed development has been tested against the following policies of the Development Plan and, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, is not in conflict with the following policies:
a)The proposal will not affect the character and amenities of the area - Policy BE10
b)The proposal will safeguard/retain important trees - Policy NE27