The contract for new telecoms equipment on the roof of the National Archives has been signed with Vodafone. Installation is still being planned following site visits.
An application for telecoms equipment in the Old Deer Park at Pools on the Park (ref 16/4132/MOB) has been turned down by Richmond Council.
The appeal for a certificate of lawful development at St Anne’s church on Kew Green has also been dismissed, the Inspector agreeing with Richmond Council that the application constituted development which would have a detrimental effect on the exterior appearance of the cupola. We hope the applicant will reconsider its designs and submit a full planning application for this site.
A new mast and equipment has been granted prior approval at the junction of Mortlake Road and Courtlands Avenue adjacent to the cemetery boundary (ref 16/3896/TEL).
St Anne’s Church bell tower, Kew Green (ref. 16/1489/PS192)
An appeal has now been made on the application turned down by Richmond Council for equipment to be installed within the St Anne;s bell tower which we had supported.
Richmond Council have turned down the application for telecoms equipment at the Royal Botanic Gardens Campanile (ref 16/1567/LBC and 16/1563/MOB). In their comments, the Council have said that “the applicants did not seek formal pre-application advice, and the scheme was found to be contrary to policy and guidance, and subsequently refused. The Council is ready to enter into discussions to advise the applicants of relevant policy and guidance; and where possible assist in the preparation of a new planning permission”.
As with the application at St Anne’s Church, we hope the applicant will follow up on this with the Council to resolve the design issues.
We are disappointed that Richmond Council turned down the application for a certificate of lawful development (ref 16/1489/PS192) for telecoms equipment at St Anne’s church on Kew Green. We have contacted the Council who have explained that,following a site visit, they concluded that the equipment would be visible from the exterior of this listed building. It would therefore require a full planning application. They also pointed out that a full application for a similar development was turned down some time ago (ref 12/1666/FUL).
We have contacted the advisers to the applicant who have confirmed they are considering making an appeal.
We of course support the need to protect listed buildings but hope that the equipment can be installed without visual detriment to the building, perhaps with some modification to the design and pre-application discussion with the Council.
We have commented to support the applications for listed building consent and planning permission for telecoms equipment at the Campanile at the Victoria Gate entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens. (Council references 16/1567/LBC and 16/1563/MOB). Like the application for St Anne’s church, this will be visually unobtrusive, is stated to be compliant with guidance on radio frequency non-ionising radiation and will improve reception in the area. We have asked for confirmation that there will be space for other providers in the future, in addition to Vodafone and Telefonica.
We are continuing to try and engage with CTIL to help identify any other suitable locations should these still be needed once the work at the National Archives, St Anne”s church and the Campanile, all of which we have supported, is complete.
An application for a Certificate of Lawful Development for telecoms equipment in the bell tower of St Anne’s church Kew Green has now been submitted by CTIL on behalf of Vodafone and Telefonica – Council planning reference 16/1489/PS192. All the works are internal and the equipment will be hidden to view within the bell tower behind new wire meshing. A statement of compliance with the guidance on radio frequency non-ionising radiation is included in the application. St Anne’s will receive rental income from the installation.
The work will bring welcome improvements to reception in the area. We would like to see confirmation that there will be sufficient space in the design for other service providers in future.
Frustratingly, despite reminders, we are still waiting for CTIL to reply to our suggestion of a meeting to discuss other locations in Kew for equipment should this still be needed after the planned work at St Anne’s, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Archives. We are keen to help where we can and have already advised that Richmond Council’s planning department have confirmed to us that they are not aware of any moratorium on using locations owned by the Council which CTIL had told us was their understanding.
The Appeal Inspector has refused the appeal for the mast and equipment at Mortlake Road/West Hall Road. See the decision 3133227 – Appeal Decision.
The comments made by the Inspector are in line with the refusal by Richmond Council and the objections we raised.
Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), acting for Vodafone and Telefonica have now told us of their plans for the area as a whole so we can enter into constructive discussions with them on more suitable locations. These are likely to include the National Archives, the campanile at the Victoria Gate entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens, and St Anne’s church bell tower. These may not need planning applications and we are looking at acceptability – these may all be good locations if carefully designed. At present they believe 1 further location in the Kew area will be needed to bring services up to acceptable standards.We want to work with them to find an acceptable solution and are considering ideas. Thoughts on where might be suitable are welcome via our “contact us” email address.
Mast and equipment at Mortlake Road/West Hall Road Junction (Council ref. 15/0191/TEL and 15/5258/TEL and appeal ref APP/L5810/W/15/3133227)
We are pleased to see that Richmond Council has refused permission for the telecoms mast and cabinet.
Vodafone have been in touch with us and we are asking them for their overall plans for the area, including working with other providers. We support the need for improvements in services but believe this can be achieved with equipment in more appropriate locations. The points we have made to Vodafone are well covered in Richmond Council’s guidance in their Supplementary Planning Document on telecoms which you can see here.
Vodafone have submitted yet another application for a mast and, this time, 1 telecoms cabinet at this location. We have objected again. We understand that Vodafone are still in discussion with the National Archives on placing their equipment on the National Archives roof. This is acceptable to the National Archives, would, we understand, give better improvements for reception than at the Mortlake Road site and would be much more acceptable in terms of visual impact. We support the need for better telecoms services but this can be achieved at the National Archives site. The stumbling block may be costs as Vodafone would need to pay the National Archives and agree access times for maintenance but we believe this would be a far better outcome for the community. In the meantime the result of the appeal by Vodafone against rejection of its previous application at this site is also still awaited.
The National Archives have now helpfully submitted their own comments to the Appeal Inspectorate confirming they are in on-going detailed discussion with Vodafone to locate their equipment at the Archives. It seems that not only would this be aesthetically more acceptable than the appeal location, but it would also provide better reception than from the appeal site. We hope this information will be sufficient evidence for the appeal inspector to uphold Richmond Council’s refusal of permission. We support the need to improve connectivity. This case demonstrates that this can be achieved whilst also respecting the local environment.
Vodafone have lodged an appeal against Richmond Council’s refusal of permission for the installation of a telecommunications mast and equipment cabinets at this site. We have made further comments to the appeal inspectorate (Planning Portal Appeals ref APP/L5810/W/15/3133227) including the fact that the appellant does not seem to have explored all options for alternative, more acceptable, positions for the mast and equipment. We have also approached The National Archives as this could be one suitable alternative. The Archives have confirmed they are in on-going discussions with Vodafone for the equipment to be positioned on their building. We believe this would be a much more acceptable location. It is not clear why Vodafone have lodged an appeal when an alternative acceptable solution may be available. We are keeping in touch with the National Archives on the latest position.
Many residents objected to the proposals for a phone mast, dishes and four cabinets at the junction of Mortlake Road and West Hall Road. Whilst we recognise the need to invest in infrastructure to improve communication speeds, we objected to the positioning and asked for other, less prominent and sensitive sites, to be explored. We are pleased to see the application has been refused.