Agenda item

Telephone Exchange St Johns Road Clifton Bristol BS8 2EU


Councillor Clive Stevens withdrew from this item as indicated above and did not participate or vote on it.


Officers responded to supplementary questions (two per speaker) as indicated below:


Responses to Councillor Clive Stevens

(1)         The applicant has provided a search area where replacement equipment needs to be located. There is no replacement that they can share and no evidence that they have actively co-ordinated as there were other approved sites. Therefore, officers believed that Policy DM36 (2) had been met

(2)         The search area is based on an area as close to the equipment as possible. The applicant was only required to demonstrate that they are as close to existing coverage as currently exists. Since all providers had received a notice to quit, this suggested there were no other providers available. This was based on evidence that there were no existing installations that can be shared.


Responses to Janet Lee


(1)   Whilst it was usually possible to upload all documents when submitting an objection to a planning application, it was noted that this had not been possible in this instance. However, the diagram and photos that had subsequently been submitted were acknowledged and taken into account

(2)   Whilst it was noted that developers had been able to submit a large number of photos, they had legal requirements to submit a wide range of documents including photos which were required as part of the application


Officers indicated that they would investigate whether the planning portal could be adapted to make it easier to submit a wider variety of photos.


Questions By Rob Lee


(1)   Durdham Downs provides coverage for this area. The applicant has made clear that they needed to ensure coverage could be provided for an installation nearby

(2)   The 2017 replacement was for partial coverage whereas the proposed installation would provide a complete coverage


Questions by Richard Durrant


(1)   Officers had only been able to include certain documents since some were too large. We included a coverage plan and two views from the applicant which provided a visual interpretation. However, a critical assessment had been provided of the view and adjusting it. All Councillors had been able to access and review the comments made and the images

(2)   The Committee have to be satisfied that they have all the information available to make their decision. Members also had the option of deferring a decision for further information if they chose to do so


Questions from Merche Clark


(1)   Officers did not know the numbers of residents who would have their views interrupted by the proposed masts

(2)   In relation to the Conservation Area, the views from St Johns Road and Alma Vale were they key views in assessing where the equipment was most harmful and apparent and therefore these had been taken into account.


Officers gave a presentation on this application and made the following points:


·       Details of the site were provided

·       Alma Church was not listed as suggested by a number of people submitting Public Forum Statements

·       Details of the proposed elevations and photographs were shown

·       The Committee was reminded of Telecommunications Policy DM36

·       The biggest concerns raised in the objections were that the equipment was unsightly and at odds with the character of the Conservation Area, as well as the short and medium term views from St Johns Road

·       The map of the search area was shown. The applicant will remove existing equipment on the Clifton Down Shopping Centre

·       Whilst the Local Planning Authority could question the need for a particular site, they could not question the need for Telecommunication Systems generally.

·       The applicant was not required to specifically prove that there were not opportunities with other providers which was a requirement for consideration under criteria viii, the indications were that this had happened since an existing building was being used which was in accordance with criteria iii

·       Other sites had been assessed by the applicant but had not been deemed suitable. The applicants had discounted Whiteladies Road in terms of its coverage and suitability of buildings

·       Officers therefore believed that all the criteria within Policy DM36 had been met. A full design of all the requirements had been provided

·       Officers had assessed the harm against the benefits to the Conservation Area and believed that the benefits outweighed these.

·       The suggestion of a temporary mast was not considered justified. Similarly, the proposal to restrict use to 3G and 4G was not considered appropriate since the applicant could use 5G in future. There was no legal basis to impose such a limit since an application for this would be considered separately on its own merits


In response to members questions, officers made the following comments:


·       Whilst the possibility of a future application from Sovereign Housing following the provision of a notice to quit from Sovereign Shopping Centre was an interesting development, no weight could be given to this in deciding on this application

·       Under Paragraph 116 of the MPPF, Councils were not able to question the need for a Telecommunications System, only the specific site

·       In terms of the health impact of radiation from masts, the MPPF made clear that the health safeguarding standards should not be any different to international ones

·       Officers believed there would be less than substantial harm to the Conservation Area and that in the search area there were no other installations planned.

·       In relation to potential harm to trees, officers had not received any advice that they would be adversely affected by radiation

·       Councillors’ concerns were noted about the need for adequate photo evidence. Officers would revisit this issue

·       The possibility of future development and its impact on this proposed development was noted but would be speculation and could not be considered by the Committee

·       The telecommunications equipment was being installed in a business location not a residential one. Therefore, the risk to home owners would not apply


Councillors made the following comments:


·       This equipment is necessary for modern life and this seemed to be the only suitable site. The impact on the Conservation Area was limited and therefore it should be supported

·       Whilst the technical advice had to be taken on its merits, there were nevertheless concerns about visual amenities and balancing these with mobile phone coverage

·       There are concerns with this application related to the impact on amenity

·       On balance this application would have to be supported. Any possible future development at Clifton Down Shopping Centre would present far greater problems

Councillor Richard Eddy moved, seconded by Councillor Mike Davies and upon being put to the vote, it was


RESOLVED (unanimously of those present) – that the application be approved subject to the conditions set out in the report.



Supporting documents: