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  • 1. 2006/2069 LAND REAR OF 8 UNION ROAD & 413 - 415 STRATFORD ROAD SHIRLEY Application No: 2006/2069 Ward/Area: SHIRLEY SOUTH Location: LAND REAR OF 8 UNION ROAD & 413 - 415 STRATFORD ROAD SHIRLEY SOLIHULL Date Registered: 03/10/2006 Applicant: HUTCHINSON 3G UK LTD Proposal: TELECOMUNICATIONS. INSTALLATION OF A 14 METRE ULTRA-SLIMLINE MONOPOLE MAST, THREE ANTENNAS HOUSED WITHIN A GLASS REINFORCED PLASTIC SHROUD. TWO EQUIPMENT CABINETS AND AN ELECTRIC METER CABINET. PROPOSAL The installation of telecommunications apparatus is provided for under Part 24 of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended), subject to conditions set out in paragraph A.3. Amongst other criteria, paragraph A.3 requires a telecommunication operator to apply to the Local Planning Authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the Authority will be required for the siting and appearance of the development. The proposal seeks prior approval for an electronics communications base station comprising of a 14 m high ultra-slimline monopole mast and associated antennas, a ground based equipment cabinet, a small MHA cabinet and an electric metre cabinet. The three antennas would be housed within a glass reinforced plastic shroud and positioned on the mast at a height of 12.3 metres above ground level. The ground based equipment cabinet would be finished in pebble grey (RAL 7032) and would measure 1.49 metres in height, 0.7 metres in depth and 1.26 metres in width. CONSULTATION RESPONSES Highway Engineers : No objection Neighbours Notified : 4th October 2006 Site Notice : 13th October 2006 REPRESENTATIONS Page 1
  • 2. Properties within a one hundred metre radius were individually consulted and a site notice was placed on site. Fifteen representations and a petition with twenty four signatures have been received. The observations are summarised as follows: 1. The proposal would be sited too close to residential properties, commercial properties, the Medical Centre and Shirley Heath School. 2. The tall and unsightly mast would have a detrimental impact on the street scene. 3. Health concerns. 4. The proposed mast could affect parental decision about choosing Shirley Heath School. 5. The proposal would have an adverse impact on the value of surrounding properties. POLICY RPG11 – Regional Planning Guidance for the West Midlands (2004) QE3 Creating a High Quality Environment for All Solihull UDP (2006) ENV2 – Urban Design ENV9 – Telecommunications/Electromagnetic Fields Government Guidance PPS1 – Delivering Sustainable Development PPG8 – Telecommunications PPG13 - Transportation PLANNING HISTORY No relevant planning history. SITE DESCRIPTION The application site is located on a back street between Union Road and Stratford Road. The base station would be sited on the back of the pavement behind a row of shops and next to the H.V. Skan Works. There are existing commercial units immediately to the north and south of the application site, the car park of Scan House to the east and three storey buildings with residential flats above to the west. A medical centre lies approximately 21 metres to the north east of the application site and Shirley Heath School lies Page 2
  • 3. approximately 180 metres to the south east. Residential flats and houses also lie further to the north and east at Union Road and Coombe Road. MAIN ISSUES • Policy • Impact on the Street Scene • Neighbouring Amenity • Highway Considerations • Health • Public Consultation APPRAISAL Policy PPG8 ‘Telecommunications’ aims to facilitate the growth of new and existing telecommunications systems whilst ensuring that telecommunications equipment has the least visual intrusion to its surroundings. To prevent the proliferation of masts and equipment, PPG8 advocates the sharing of masts and sites to ensure the optimum environmental solution found. PPG8 continues that use should be made of existing buildings and other structures before free standing structures are proposed. Where free standing structures are required, operators should use sympathetic design and camouflage to minimise the impact of development on the environment. PPG8 advocates that the operator should undertake an assessment of need, which should support any application to the local planning authority. The supporting evidence submitted by the applicant as part of this application states a gap in coverage has been identified in this area and the proposed base station will result in a significant improvement in the quality of coverage so that much of the Shirley area will now receive coverage levels sufficient to provide an effective 3G service in this area. The 3G coverage will predominantly benefit residential areas to the east and west of the A34 Stratford Road, Shirley Shopping Centre and a key stretch of the A34 through Shirley. This demonstrates a need for an additional 3G base station to provide the required level of service to the Shirley area. The applicant states that this particular coverage objective cannot be met by the sharing of existing telecommunications masts or sites in the area. Thirteen alternative sites for installation were also explored but were found unsuitable for a the following reasons: • Land owner unwilling to consider any form of telecommunications development; • Greater visual impact than the application proposal; • Close proximity of underground services; • Design of building unsuitable for telecommunications development; • Unsuitable site for servicing; and Page 3
  • 4. • Unacceptable impact on a Grade II Listed Building. Policy ENV9 seeks to resist telecommunication equipment that is to be located in or adjacent to sensitive areas, which may include residential areas and education and health institutions. In such areas, Policy ENV9 stipulates that development will only be permitted if there is no other technically suitable location that both meets operational requirements and causes less environmental harm, and any mast is at a distance of at least twice its height from the nearest residential property. Impact on Street Scene The proposal seeks prior approval for a 14 metre ultra-slimline monopole mast incorporating 3 antennas, together with ground based equipment cabinet and ancillary development. The mast would be located immediately adjacent to the boundary wall of the car park of Skan House. The ground based equipment cabinet, MHA cabinet and electric metre cabinet would be of a similar scale, design and colour as other items of street furniture commonly found in urban areas. The proposed mast would only marginally extend beyond the roof line of the three storey buildings to the south and west of the application site and it is considered that these buildings would sufficiently screen the mast when viewed from Stratford Road. The neighbouring properties to the north of the application site are only two storey in nature and as such, the mast would be more visible when viewed from Union Road. However, given the backdrop of predominantly commercial buildings against which the mast will be viewed from Union Road, it is not considered that the proposal would have unacceptable visual impact. It is not therefore considered the proposed electronic communication base station would have an unacceptable impact on the character appearance of the street scene. Neighbouring Amenity The application site is considered to be situated within a sensitive location given its close proximity to residential properties, educational and health institutions. Policy ENV9 of the Solihull UDP (2006) states that any mast should be located at a distance of at least twice its height from the nearest residential property. In this instance, the nearest residential property would need to be situated at least 28 metres from the electronic communication base station. The adjacent flats above the shops fronting Stratford Road would not, however, maintain the recommended separation distance, with the nearest flat being approximately 11.5 metres from the proposed electronic communication base station. The proposal is therefore considered to have a detrimental impact on the residential amenity of surrounding neighbouring properties by means of overbearing and as such, is contrary to Policies ENV2 and ENV9 of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan (2006). Highway Issues Page 4
  • 5. The ground based cabinet equipment and ancillary works would leave sufficient space to allow pedestrians to pass safely and without having to step into the adjacent road. The Highways Engineer has raised no objection and as such, it is not considered that proposal would have a detrimental impact on highway safety. Health Issues The proposal is in compliance with ICNIRP guidelines – the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection for public exposure. PPG8 states that if a proposed installation meets ICNIRP guidelines, it is not necessary for a local planning authority to consider further matters of public health. Public Consultation In response to public consultation concerns over the impact on the street scene, health and the close proximity to surrounding properties has been addressed above. With regard the depreciation of local properties and the potential decline in the number of pupils attending Shirley Heath School, these are not material planning considerations. CONCLUSION The proposed electronic communication base station, by virtue of its close proximity to surrounding neighbouring properties, would have an unacceptable impact on the residential amenity of surrounding neighbouring properties by means of overbearing. As such, the proposal is considered an inappropriate form of development contrary to Policies ENV2 and ENV9 of the Solihull UDP (2006). RECOMMENDATION For the reasons outlined above I recommend refusal. (1) The proposed 14m high telecommunications mast and ancillary equipment is considered inappropriate in this location and would have an overbearing impact on nearby residential properties. The proposal therefore conflicts with Policy ENV2 and ENV9 of the Solihull UDP (2006). NOTE: For the avoidance of doubt this decision refers to the plans as follows: Plan Number(s): 0229932 - 101 dated 3rd October 2006. Page 5