Bid to isolate telecoms masts fails

PUBLISHED: 10:48 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010

EFFORTS to persuade Herts County Council to take a more robust approach to the siting of telecoms masts and equipment have fallen on deaf ears. St Albans District Council s planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, told a meeting of the Cabinet last

EFFORTS to persuade Herts County Council to take a more robust approach to the siting of telecoms masts and equipment have fallen on deaf ears.

St Albans District Council's planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, told a meeting of the Cabinet last week that they had made "very little headway" with the county council and were no further forward.

The cabinet wants the county to consider new guidelines for the positioning of masts on their land to give the district council more leverage at planning appeals.

Although county has a procedure in place for considering requests to put telecoms equipment on its land, it does not set out any specific criteria on which applications would be rejected.

That is in contrast to other authorities, such as Milton Keynes, which has a policy that it will not normally permit equipment on its land within 50 metres of residential properties, nurseries, playgroups, school grounds or medical facilities.

St Albans cabinet had asked the county to sign up to a criteria-based list in the form of a guidance note aimed at guiding telecoms operators to preferred locations in residential areas.

But the county council maintains that it has limited powers to ensure any guidance it draws up would be enforceable and that the issue is primarily a matter for the planning authority.

Cllr Brazier told the meeting: "At the moment any appeal for telecom masts we have refused we have lost because there is nothing in place. Most of the problems stem from Herts County Council or Herts Highways being landowners. But we are going to be working on this more. I think this report is disappointing but it is not the end."

Council leader Robert Donald added: "It is not just disappointing but it is also clear that the county council is not prepared to take even a slight risk. This is a matter of great public concern.

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