Objecting to a planning application: Mobile Telephone Masts

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.

Traveller incursion in Lightwater, ongoing effects

The recent traveller incursion onto the Lightwater Recreation Ground behind All Saints’ Church, though now over, continues to have an effect.

That effect is that both the small public car park by the Lightwater Recreation Ground, and that in front of the Briars Community Centre in Lightwater have both now been closed with barriers. A large tree log for the Briars Centre and heavy concrete structures for the recreation Ground.

Closing both car parks protects them from traveller incursions onto the playing fields. In doing this the local councils, parish and borough, are inconveniencing local residents.

An alternative solution is required, one that protects the playing fields from traveller incursion, yet allows both car parks to be used. I guess I’ll have to follow up and find out what the councils are planning about re-opening the car parks.

Traveller incursion in Lightwater ongoing

Today at 4.0 pm the encampment of travellers on Lightwater Playing Field, behind All Saints’ Church, is continuing, with additional travellers having arrived since Monday.

Protection from incursion onto Briar Avenue Playing Field, adjoining the Briars Community Centre in Lightwater, is a barrier added to the entrance. A probable necessary move, though one that restricts resident access to the Community Centre car park.

A quiet Polling Station

Polling StationI did my duty, I voted today.

Must say The Briars did us proud as a poling station. I don’t think there was any smarter place in the country as a poling station. Election rules meant I wasn’t allowed to take a picture inside.

Needless to say, as there was heavy rain – even thunder and lightning – the turnout by midday was low at this polling station. It’ll be interesting to see the voting numbers, I’m guessing the percentage will be in the low 30% range.

The size of the ballot paper did surprise, as did the number of parties, some of whom I admit to knowing absolutely nothing.