Agenda item - BH2020/00470-Carden Avenue, Opposite 3 & 4 Dale Drive, Brighton BN1 8NT - Full Planning

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Agenda item

BH2020/00470-Carden Avenue, Opposite 3 & 4 Dale Drive, Brighton BN1 8NT - Full Planning


Ward Affected: Patcham


            Replacement of existing 11.7 metre high telecommunications monopole with relocated 20.0 metre high telecommunications monopole supporting 12no antenna apertures, with installation of ground-based equipment cabinets and associated works.


(1)        It was noted that an in-depth presentation had been provided by officers in advance of the meeting and was included on the council website detailing the scheme by reference to site plans, elevational drawings and photographs which also showed the proposed scheme in the context of neighbouring development. The main considerations in determining the application related to the design and appearance of the proposed development, the impact of the proposal on neighbouring amenity and sustainable transport matters.


(2)        The site was an established location for telecommunications apparatus. The proposed mast and cabinets would be considerably taller and bulkier than the existing apparatus and whilst nearby street lamps and trees would to some extent obscure and conceal the proposal there would be an adverse impact on the appearance of the area. However, the applicant had submitted a justification for this location based on technical and operational constraints. Paragraph 112 of the NPPF encouraged the provision of 5G infrastructure in order to support economic growth and social well-being through the increased connectivity 5G would provide. Central Government was also supportive of the provision of 5G network infrastructure.


(3)        Whilst it was considered that the proposal would result in some visual harm, this had been mitigated in accordance with Policy QD23 of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan and would not amount to a serious adverse impact on the character or appearance of the area. On balance, this was considered to be outweighed by the substantial public benefit arising from the provision of 5G services and therefore does not warrant refusal of the application and approval was therefore recommended.


          Public Speakers


(4)        Ms Kelly spoke on behalf of neighbouring objectors setting out their objections to the scheme. There had been no consultation with residents and no other locations had been investigated or put forward and the location and siting proposed would have the most detrimental impact possible in view of the topography of the site. Residents had not been asked whether they wanted this pole and the height and dimensions of the proposed equipment (it was significantly higher than anything existing nearby), would be overly dominant in close proximity to a number of dwellings and would be overbearing and would result in loss of aspect and loss of amenity. The area of signal coverage was also less than with the existing equipment and so more masts were needed and additional extensions which it was anticipated would be needed over time would exacerbate this negative impact.


(5)        Councillor Mc Nair spoke in his capacity as a Local Ward Councillor setting his objections and those of his fellow Ward Councillor, Councillor Wares and in support of local objectors. No evidence had been provided that alternative sites had been explored and it did not replace the existing given that it was to be relocated where it would be more intrusive than the existing which had originally received planning permission due to an administrative error. The assertion that the 20m mast would not detract from the existing street scene or character of the area because it would blend in with existing structures was refuted as it would be located on an area of verge where there no other tall structures and it would be very prominent in terms of its height and girth. The multiple cabinets which would sit alongside would cause further harm and would be highly visible to neighbouring homes in nearly all directions. It was considered the proposal would be contrary to policies QD23 and QD24 of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan and CP12 and CP15 of the City Plan Part One and should be refused.


(6)        The Democratic Services Officer read out a statement submitted by Ciara Daly of Blue Clarity Design Services Limited on behalf of the applicants in support of their application. EE were in the process of upgrading the network in the area in accordance with Government guidance. This proposed upgrade had been sited and designed in order to support the existing mobile network and to promote improved 5G technology. The pole had been carefully designed to enable a number of antennas to be accommodated which would enable two operators to share one mast whilst minimising height and bulk as far as possible. To ensure efficient continued operation of the network, alternative sites had to be within a short radius of the existing mast to maintain the existing network coverage. If a mast was located even a short distance from the existing site it could leave a gap in the existing network coverage elsewhere. In order to maintain existing coverage, it necessitated a limited search area of approximately 100m from the existing site, dense residential housing made up the entire search area. The height of the replacement mast had been determined by radio planning in order for the upgraded base station to effectively provide coverage to the target area in line with the established network pattern, specific orientations and heights needed to be achieved. This location would enable the whole of the surrounding area to benefit from the improved 5G network and was designed to be future proof by enabling other technologies to be deployed depending on the demand required.


          Questions of Officers


(7)        In answer to questions it was confirmed that whilst it was accepted that some visual harm would arise from the proposal it was considered that this was outweighed by the substantial public benefit arising from the provision on 5G services and did not warrant refusal of the application. A condition had also been added requiring making good of the existing site after the removal of the existing mast and cabinets.


(8)        Councillor Shanks sought clarification of the height and width of the proposed masts compared with those currently in existence nearby, also whether it would be possible to apply a condition requiring landscaping/screening to be provided to reduce the visual impact of the proposal.


(9)        Councillor Yates sought further clarification in respect of potential visual harm which could arise.


(10)      Councillor Theobald stated that although reference had been made to the applicant considering alternative sites this did not appear to have been evidenced, asking whether the applicant could be required to investigate other sites. The Head of Planning, Liz Hobden advised that the applicant had explained the rationale for the chosen site and that the Committee needed to determine the application which was before them.


(11)      Councillor Littman sought clarification in respect of the previously refused applications on which prior refusal had been required and whether/how the situation differed in respect of this current 5G application


          Debate and Decision Making Process


(12)      Councillor Janio stated that he recognised the need for 5G technology to be rolled out and the public benefits which would result from it. There was a need for this mast and ultimately for others to be erected across the city. He considered that the application was acceptable and supported the officer recommendation.


(13)      Councillor Theobald cited the large number of objections stating that residents clearly did not want the development and she was in agreement that its appearance would have a negative impact on a number of them and would be voting against the application. Councillor Yates concurred in that view.


(14)      Councillor Yates was of the view that a sufficiently compelling case had not been made for placing the proposed installation at this location, whilst recognising the need for technology to be rolled out across the city and for changes to be made to the existing network that did not mean that it had to be here. He would be voting against the application.


(15)      Councillor Fishleigh was in agreement that the proposed location appeared to be both harmful and arbitrary, she would not be supporting the application.


(16)      Councillor Shanks stated that on balance she considered the proposal to be acceptable and that she would support an additional condition requiring landscaping measures to improve the appearance of the structure i.e., the cabinets at ground level.


(17)      Councillor Miller noted that there was a lot of existing street furniture in the vicinity. Whilst recognising that this was an addition and would be taller and wider he was in agreement that the proposal did not warrant refusal and was in agreement that appropriate landscaping/screening would improve the structures appearance.


(18)      Councillor Mac Cafferty referred to the concerns expressed by residents and whilst sympathetic to them noted that a number of them related to health and other concerns which were not germane planning considerations. He considered that on balance the application was acceptable on planning grounds and would be voting in support of it. Councillor Littman was in agreement.


19)       Councillor Hill, the Chair stated that she was minded to support the application. The public benefits accruing could only be realised by providing a network across the city as a whole and the scheme was acceptable.


(20)      A vote was taken and on a vote of 6 to 4 planning permission was granted to include a condition requiring additional landscaping to be provided.


130.1    RESOLVED – That the Committee has taken into consideration and agrees with the reasons for the recommendation set out in the report and resolves to GRANT planning permission subject to the Conditions and Informatives also set out in the report and to add an additional condition that suitable landscaping be provided.

Supporting documents:


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