Objection to planning application for telecommunications mast

Please see below objection from Monxton Parish Council. Villagers are encouraged to submit their own comments- please note the deadline for doing so is 9th June 2020

PRIOR APPROVAL & PLANNING APPLICATION No: 20/01016/TELN FOR THE PROPOSED INSTALLATION OF A TELECOMMUNICATIONS BASE STATION AND MAST on Land North Of Abbotts Ann Road Monxton Andover Hampshire SP11 8AR

Monxton Parish Council wishes to strongly OBJECT to both this Prior Approval and this Planning Application, due to the adverse impact on Monxton by the proposed siting of a 20-metre-high Telecoms mast at the top of the hill, between Monxton and Abbotts Ann.

The applicant states that they wish to use this site for the proposed base and mast because,” there is currently little or no coverage along this section of railway”. As there have been no Neighbour or Community Consultations about this proposal, we would like Monxton Parish Council’s comments to be taken in to account prior to any decision by Test Valley Borough Council.

Design

The Monxton Village Design Statement states in its Design Guidelines that, “To maintain the distinctive appeal of Monxton; In the cases of new developments, effort should be made to ensure that they do not dominate the locality and should be blended sympathetically with nearby dwellings in respect of scale”. 

This design will not blend in to our rural surroundings and will dominate its locality. This intrusive 60-foot-high mast contravenes the Monxton Village Design Statement and will be a blot on our wonderful local landscape.  This site therefore should be discounted on these grounds.

Siting of the Mast

The Applicant’s Design & Access Statement states that the reason this site has been chosen for the proposed base and mast, is that rail passengers experience a weak mobile phone signal along this section of the railway. Residents of Monxton, Abbotts Ann and Amport will receive little, if any, additional benefit due to the topology of the area. As an EE customer, I use their WIFI service which means we have no need for an improved signal, and therefore, a mast of this size in such a sensitive position is not appropriate, quite the contrary, because its proposed location is at the highest vantage point above Monxton. The siting of this mast will also have a detrimental impact on the residential amenity of Manor Farm and nearby properties in Monxton.  This site should therefore be discounted on these grounds.

Appearance

The appearance does not compliment the character of the surrounding agricultural land and the impact on the visual amenity of the area is unacceptable.  The development proposed is so substantial, that to grant permission would undermine the plan-making process by predetermining decisions about the scale, location or phasing of new development that are central to an emerging plan. The appearance will have a detrimental impact on the residential amenity of Manor Farm and nearby properties in Monxton.  This site therefore should be discounted on these grounds

Test Valley Borough Council Revised Local Plan

Policy COM2 Settlement Hierarchy

This states that developments will only be permitted in the countryside if it can be demonstrated that the works to be located in a rural area are essential.

These works are NOT essential for the residents of Monxton or nearby villages, so consequently, they should not be allowed.

Policy E1 High Quality Development

The proposed development is wholly inappropriate for this area and will have a detrimental effect on it’s character and should be discounted on visual amenity grounds

Policy E2 Protect, Conserve & Enhance the Landscape Character

The proposed design is not in keeping with its surroundings in both terms of its scale and appearance. It will not preserve, conserve or enhance the character of the area, quite the contrary, and it should be discounted on visual amenity grounds.

Policy LHW4 Amenity

The application should not be permitted as it will be detrimental to the visual amenity of the nearby residential properties at Manor Farm and Monxton.

National Planning Policy

Section 2 – Achieving Sustainable Development

The proposed development will not enhance our social communities or benefit our village economically, as the applicant claims.

Section 4 – Decision Making

Local resident’s social and environmental conditions will not be improved by the proposed development, quite the opposite.

Section 10 – Supporting high quality communications

The proposed development in our rural area is not essential for our economic growth or social wellbeing.

Paragraph 113 – states that the Local Planning Authority should ensure that they have evidence to demonstrate that electronic communications infrastructure is not expected to cause interference with air traffic services.  The applicant has failed to provide this information as they have not consulted any Civil Aviation Authority/Secretary of State for Defence or Aerodrome Operator.

Paragraph 114 – states that “The number of radio and electronic communications masts, and the sites for such installation, should be kept to a minimum consistent with the needs of consumers”. The proposed development is not consistent with our local needs and, as such, there is no necessity for the proposed new mast at this location

Paragraph 115 – states that “Applications for electronic communications development (including applications for prior approval under the General Permitted Development Order) should be supported by the necessary evidence to justify the proposed development”.  The information provided by the applicant is inaccurate and misleading and should be discounted

Section 12 – Achieving well-designed places

The proposed design is unattractive and will be an eyesore. The visual impact will be detrimental to the surrounding rural area and should be discounted on visual amenity grounds.

Section 15 – Conserving & enhancing the natural environment

The proposed site is located between the Conservation Areas of Monxton and Abbotts Ann and is bordered by ancient woodland.  An Environmental Impact Assessment has not been provided.  This proposed project will have significant adverse effects on the environment and Test Valley Borough Council should take this into account in the decision-making process.

The proposed site is not located in an urban or suburban area but in a rural idyll.  By even considering, this unsuitable location for their proposed development, the applicant has shown how little local knowledge they have. They have failed to provide, what is, incredibly important and relevant information in their application, which Test Valley Borough Council needs to take in to consideration when making their decision.

The applicant states on the Site Specific Supplementary Information that:

There are “No schools in proximity”. 

There are two primary schools within a mile of the site, in Amport and Abbotts Ann.

“No Civil Aviation Authority/Secretary of State for Defence or Aerodrome Operator has been consulted and the structure will not be within 3km of an aerodrome or airfield”.

There is a helicopter pad at the Army Headquarters, Monxton, which is located within 3km of a statutory safeguarding zone, and from where helicopters fly senior Army staff to and from Salisbury Plain. There are two aerodromes in the vicinity, one at Thruxton, where the Hampshire Air Ambulance is based, which deploys regularly, and where many private planes are based; all of which fly over the site area.  The Army Air Corps base is down the road at Middle Wallop; the proposed site is directly under the regular flight path used by the Army’s low flying Apache Helicopters to and from Middle Wallop and Salisbury Plain.

Southern Water has not been consulted.

There is no mention in the application that Southern Water’s rising main goes right through the proposed site.  This line carries raw sewage from the Monxton Pumping Station to the Pumping Station at Abbotts Ann and any disturbance or ground movements could be catastrophic, not only for Monxton, but for all the villages that are further down the line.  Abbotts Ann recently suffered extensive flooding from this line near the proposed site, with numerous tankers having to pump out at that location for some days.

Manor Farm, Abbotts Ann

The residents of nearby Manor Farm have not been informed or consulted by the applicant about this proposed development, which will be sited very close to the existing Alpine/Penchard workshops and Manor Farm buildings.  There is no mention about Manor Farm’s Planning Application for a residential development, and the proposed development should be discounted as a result.

Highways

There are only two ways to access the site either through Abbotts Ann or Monxton. The Highways report does not cover the route the construction traffic will take and as the road through Abbotts Ann is impassable by HGVs and Monxton’s roads are clearly signposted, ”Unsuitable for HGVS”.  We are very concerned about the adverse impact this will have on our village.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The applicant has not provided an Environmental Impact Assessment.  Vitally important biodiversity has adapted to this semi-natural habitat of wood-pasture.  This development is likely to have significant effects on the environment and an Environmental Impact Assessment should be required.

Conservation Areas

The proposed site, on agricultural land, is located between the Conservation Areas of Monxton and Abbotts Ann and a huge unsightly mast should not be allowed to be erected near these protected areas.  The proposed site is wholly inappropriate for this development and will have a detrimental effect on the character of the rural area and should be discounted on visual amenity grounds.

Habitat

The proposed site is a wonderful wildlife habitat, due to being left fallow for over 20 years.  It has a large active badger sett and they and their setts, are protected by law. This habitat should be protected as it is an offence to recklessly damage or destroy a badger sett and to disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett.  This habitat should be protected.

Landscape 

The Landscape report does not state that the site is bordered on one side by ancient woodland, which provides habitat for numerous animal species and BAP priority species of birds including, Song Thrushes, Woodpeckers and Barn Owls.  It is a vital that wildlife habitats are considered as part of this application to avoid habitat loss and the damaging impacts of this proposed development.

Public Rights of Way

It is stated that this 60 foot mast will not be able to be seen from the many footpaths and public rights of way in the area, but in the autumn and winter, it will be visible from Monxton and the surrounding area.  Due to the height of the proposed site, there are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside, which are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Contrary to the applicant’s claims, Abbotts Ann Road is used every day for numerous leisure activities including jogging, dog walking, horse riding and cycling.

In summary, this new mast will be of no benefit to Monxton and, for the sake of a few minutes’ WIFI downtime on the trains travelling along the stretch of line, it would be far more appropriate to make use of existing masts. Rail passengers experiencing a weak mobile phone signal for a few moments does NOT justify the impact on our villages and if this unnecessary proposed development is allowed to go ahead, it will cause harm to our important Conservation area and a beautiful rural area of the Test Valley. A better solution but no doubt more expensive would be a series of mini-masts along the railway cutting which has not been proposed as an option but would be more acceptable.

We would, therefore, ask that EE are required to provide a solution that does not have an adverse impact on our village and the surrounding area.  We seek Test Valley Borough Council’s support and request that this prior approval and/or the planning application are refused.

Regards

Mike Cleugh

Chairman

Monxton Parish Council

07836792545
01264 710276

 

 

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