Monday, February 16, 2009

Mobile phone mast ... unfortunate decision

Last night at the City Council's Development Quality Committee I move refusal of yet another unwelcome mobile phone mast proposal in the West End - this time at Glamis Road.

Here was my motion :

Reasons for Refusal : Application: 08/00839/FUL

Address: Land Opposite Carseview Gardens, Glamis Road, Dundee

Proposal: Installation of 14.2 Metre High Telecommunications Mast

1. The proposed development is contrary to Policy 1 - "Vibrant and Sustainable Communities" of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as the proposed mast will have an adverse impact on the environmental quality enjoyed by local residents by virtue of its inappropriate design. There are no material considerations of sufficient weight to justify the granting of planning permission contrary to the policy.

2. The proposed development is contrary to Policy 61 - "Development in Conservation Areas" of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as it fails to preserve or enhance the character of the West End Suburbs Conservation Area by virtue of the inappropriate size, design, location and appearance of the mast. There are no material considerations of sufficient weight to justify the granting of planning permission contrary to the policy.

3. The proposed development is contrary to Policy 78 - "Location of Telecommunications Equipment" of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as there is a failure to mast share and fully demonstrate that mast share is not a feasible proposition. There are no material considerations of sufficient strength to justify the granting of planning permission contrary to the policy.

4. The proposed development is contrary to Policy 2 "Residential Areas" of Dundee City Council's adopted Non-Statutory Planning Policies in Relation to Telecommunications Masts and Other Apparatus as there is a general presumption against the siting of free standing masts in residential areas.

I lost the vote 14-10, but that doesn't exactly tell the whole story ... prior to the meeting, I asked the Planning Officer to obtain from Vodafone, the applicants, some evidence of the transmission areas of mobile signal at the sites they rejected in favour of Glamis Road. It sort of struck me that the committee was entitled to see the evidence that alternative sites away from residential housing would result in poorer reception, as Vodafone claimed.

Anyway, Vodafone ignored the requests for that information, which reflects poorly on the applicant - there was therefore no evidence presented to show that an alternative site away from residential housing would result a poorer mobile phone reception.

The Committee Convener made the sensible suggestion that planning officers meet the mobile phone companies to impress upon them the need in future to provide evidence to support their claims. Although I think the vote last night was not good for the local area, I welcome the proposal for planning officers to meet the mobile phone companies on this matter.