Vodaphone Mast on Bath Road

The installation of a 15m replica telegraph pole, 2no. microwave dishes, 2no. equipment cabinets, along with ancillary works on land at Bath Road Wells Somerset. Ref/no. 2016/2636/FUL.

Comments from Wells Civic Society

The proposed mast and associated cabinets lie within the Wells Conservation Area. The Wells Conservation Area Appraisal (October 2011) relates to the constituent character areas. The positive features in this part of the Conservation Area include views of St Thomas Church – a grade II* listed building and “opposite views to the south towards a backdrop of dense woodland on Tor Hill”. The clutter and scale of the proposal would have an adverse impact on both of these features. Furthermore, this character area, as analysed in the Appraisal identifies “overhead cables and telegraph poles” as key negative features in this area. The proposal would exacerbate this negative aspect.

There is no evidence in the details of the planning application which indicate that Vodaphone have made any effort to search for more appropriate locations for this mast in a rural setting which does not adversely impact local residents.

The proposed works would sit beside an existing school sign and an 8m lamp post.

These works would intrude into the adjoining footway which is regularly used by local residents walking to and from the City and also children and parents accessing Stoberry School.

The bulk of the two proposed cabinets and the antenna would obscure vision of drivers exiting the Budgens Fuel Station and Store thereby causing a traffic hazard.

The Society recommend to the Council that the application is refused on the following grounds:

  1. The proposed telecommunication mast and associated cabinets by virtue of their inappropriate siting, excessive scale and bulk and unsympathetic functional design would result in a highly visual prominent and incongruous development which would harm the visual appearance and character of the streetscene, particularly the views towards St Thomas Church and also of woodland to the south. The proposal would fail to preserve or enhance the significance and setting of heritage assets, namely both St Thomas Church and also the Wells Conservation Area contrary to policy DP3 of the Mendip Local Plan and paragraphs 56 – 68 and 126 – 141 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

  2. The siting and size of the proposal is such as to cause visibility problems for drivers exiting the adjoining Budgens and joining Bath Road contrary to policy DP9 of the Mendip Local Plan.

  3. According to the Stewart Report of 2000, it is not possible to state that exposure to RF radiation, even at levels below national guidelines, is totally without potential adverse health effects. In view of that finding, the precautionary principle should apply and the proposal should not be sited within an urban area and close to a primary school.

Adrian I’Anson – Wells Civic Society – 21st November 2016.

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