Alerted to a planning application from Vodafone & Telefonica [O2] for the erection of a mobile telephone mast near the Briars Community Centre in Lightwater, I’ve studied the application, which you can do too, HERE.
A local parish and borough councillor is organising objections to the application. I appreciate why Cllr Katia Malcaus Cooper is doing so. She’s both a Trustee and Chair of the Briars Community Centre, and naturally is protective of the Centre, which describes itself as,
Lightwater is a lovely village in the South East of England with good transport links. Our location is quiet and we have a large outdoors recreation area and are highly affordable for any event you are planning.
Over the years the centre has had numerous improvements, all down to an active management committee. So, yes, I fully understand the desire not to have infrastructure so close to the centre.
I’m ambivalent about the application, seeing the siting of the mast as inconsiderate to the centre, but am generally supportive of having a mast. Why, well, where we live we’ve been in a significant not spot for many years. Also, mobile phone coverage has for a long time been very poor, often connections have dropped, and getting a signal has sometimes not been possible. The mobile signal has improved in the last year or so, still not great, I think maybe because of mast upgrades elsewhere in Lightwater. I see a much improved phone signal at where I live with this mast.
There are extensive supporting documents for the planning application from the agents for Vodafone and O2, and I’ve read most of them. I can see why they want to place the mast where they want to, as it provides the best mobile signal coverage to the largest number of properties. I hadn’t quite realised how much trees degrade a phone signal, and so the siting recommendation looks to minimise their effect.
The mast and associated cabinets are too close to the road, and will certainly be an eyesore in that location. My recommendation is to move the mast siting further away from the centre, nearer to the Briar Avenue / Broom Field island. The mast and cabinets could easily be placed behind the pavement in the grassy area near when the dog poo bin is located. I know it’s not moving the mast that far, but I consider it’ll be visually less impinging on nearby homes and the Briar Centre.
Below are the map of the proposed location, a plan view of it’s exact location, the objection notice, and my photo of an alternative location. Click on images to expand.