County urged to rethink phone-mast planning policy

PUBLISHED: 11:19 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:46 06 May 2010

A BID is being made to persuade Herts County Council to change its policy on the siting of telecom masts on the local highway. St Albans District Council s Cabinet has agreed to urge the county council to consider new guidelines for the positioning of mas

A BID is being made to persuade Herts County Council to change its policy on the siting of telecom masts on the local highway.

St Albans District Council's Cabinet has agreed to urge the county council to consider new guidelines for the positioning of masts on highway land which is their responsibility and over which they have planning jurisdiction.

The measures would include encouraging telecom companies to share masts, site them 250 metres away from schools and 20 metres away from residential properties.

St Albans planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, explained that they had to urge the county council to adopt the new policies because they were the planning authority for new masts on the highway.

He rejected a proposal put forward by Labour's prospective Parliamentary candidate, Cllr Roma Mills, that they should be 50 metres from residential properties as they were in Milton Keynes.

He pointed out that although that was achievable in the new town, there were two main differences. One was that Milton Keynes was a unitary authority and had control over its own highways and the other was because the layout of its housing was far more suitable for a 50-metre distance between masts and houses.

Cllr Brazier pointed out: "Twenty metres is achievable and we can't put forward suggestions for guidance that are not achievable."

He said the district council was taking the initiative over the issue because of the outcry locally over mast applications and the number of planning applications they were refusing which were overturned on appeal.

He added: "We are not the planning decision-maker, that is the county council, and we need them to consider this. They have said they will look at it and show it to officers and members."

Another report is due to be brought back to Cabinet in March.

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