Plans to install a mobile phone mast the height of a six-storey building at a prominent Hereford spot have failed.
CK Hutchison Networks, which operates the Three mobile phone network, wanted to put up a 20-metre “phase 8 monopole” with a cabinet at its base on a patch of what is currently grass by the city’s main police station on Bath Street, near a section of the city wall, a scheduled ancient monument.
In August last year it asked Herefordshire Council to confirm that the plan could proceed without full planning permission, under what are known as permitted development rights.
It said at the time that it had considered and ruled out six other potential sites for the pole nearby.
But the council’s historic buildings officer said he “strongly objected” to the proposal, due to the “substantial harm” to their historic setting.
The council’s archaeologist added that given its sensitive location, special consent would be needed from the Secretary of State for the ground works.
Their views were supported by ward councillor Jeremy Milln, who said the pole “would introduce an incongruous element to a sensitive heritage location”.
Recommending refusal, planning officer David Gosset agreed the plan would cause “substantial harm to both above and below-ground heritage assets of the greatest importance”.
In appealing against this, the network claimed that the pole plan would comply with Government guidance and would “address a 5G coverage hole in the area”.
Any impact on its amenity or character would be “outweighed by the considerable positive benefits brought to the economy and community”, the company’s agent said.
But Government-appointed planning inspector Lewis Condé has now sided with the council, ruling that the proposed pole “would result in harm to designated heritage assets”, to which he attached “great weight”.
In dismissing the appeal, he said he had seen “insufficient evidence to demonstrate that there are no alternative sites which would cause less harm”.
CK Hutchison has more recently applied to install a similar pole beside the city’s Roman Road, near the roundabout junction with Holmer Road, the A49.
What are your thoughts?
You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.
Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.