Thumbs Down For New West Hill Phone Mast

Telecoms pole would have towered to almost 60 feet

The location where the mast would have been sited

January 9, 2023

Planners have turned down a scheme to improve local 4G network coverage by replacing a 33-foot telecommunications mast with one rising to more than 59 feet

Telecommunications company Three UK applied to Wandsworth Council for the go-ahead to install an 18 metre (59-foot) monopole on West Hill, close to Sutherland Grove and Rusholme Road.

But, following 20 objections to the scheme, council officers have refused prior approval consent for the installation of the mast and four equipment cabinets, which would replace a nearby 10.3 metre (33ft 9ins) monopole and its two cabinets.

Pegasus Group Associate Planner Richard Morrison, acting as agent, said in his letter to the council, “The location enables the whole of the surrounding area to benefit from improved 4G network coverage and has been designed to be future proof, thus enabling other technologies to be deployed depending upon the demand required.

“The enclosed application is identified as the most suitable option that balances operational need with local planning policies and national planning policy guidance. It will deliver public benefit in terms of the mobile services it will provide.”

But a report prepared by council planners said the proposed new mast, which is close to Ashcroft Technology Academy, would “tower” above the nearest tallest trees (around 12 metres tall) and would be “significantly higher” than the surrounding four-storey blocks of flats.

The 20 objections to the proposals centred on the height of the planned mast as well as the impact of limited pedestrian space along the road. Although it’s not in a conservation area, it would be opposite Rusholme Road Conservation Area and near Sutherland Grove Conservation Area.

The report prepared by council officers also stated, “During the winter months, the proposed mast would be highly prominent and would be an eyesore for residents impacting their amenity space.

“The proposed height would be greater than the nearest built form, the antenna heads would be of a bulky design (approx. 0.7m in diameter) and the mast as whole would be a highly noticeable discordant addition in its prominent street side location.

“It is therefore considered that the visual prominence and location of the currently proposed mast and associated cabinet development would lead to excessive clutter within the public realm, harming the setting and character of the adjoining Rusholme Road Conservation area.

“More consideration needs to be taken into looking into other sites to deal with the lack of coverage in this area, as this site location is not suitable for a mast of the scale and design proposed.”

Jenifer Jackson, Wandsworth’s Assistant Director (Planning and Transport) refused the request for prior approval for the replacement of the existing mast, concluding the scheme would “result in significantly prominent, bulky and unsightly apparatus causing undue clutter in the street scene and harming the amenity of adjoining properties.”

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