› Forums › Planning Applications › 5G telecoms mast – pre-planning application – Whitehouse Loan
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There is a pre-planning application for a new 5G telecoms mast just outside the Grange Association area, at the south-western end of Whitehouse Loan. The proposed location can be seen in this streetview. The mast will be 20m high and this is a drawing showing the proposed elevation.
The applicant’s agent has issued a pre-consultation enquiry to stakeholders including the Marchmont Sciennes Community Council inviting comments before 6 March 2023. This is expected to be followed by a full planning application which will be subject to the normal assessment and approval process. The agent wrote on 20 February: “Prior to the submission of either a full planning application or an application for prior approval of proposed development by telecommunications code systems operators, as a stakeholder, we seek and welcome your comments and views on the proposal as per the attached draft planning drawings and site detail sheet. We look forward to receiving any comments on the preferred location identified within 14 days of this email.”Grange PlanningKeymaster
This proposal has now progressed to a formal “Prior notification” submission, for which the documents can be accessed at 23/00843/PNT on the Council’s planning portal. A “prior notification” is an application to tell the planning authority about certain proposals which the applicant believes benefit from “permitted development rights”, so that the authority can decide whether the applicant needs to get approval beforehand (prior approval). If the development is deemed to be “permitted development”, it does not require planning permission.
This guidance document from the Scottish Government provides, at para 19, special provisions for “Electronic Communications Code Operators” (i.e. mobile phone companies) such that:
Where an electronic communications code operator, or someone acting on their behalf, proposes:
erecting a new ground based mast up to 30m in height (excluding the extent to which any antenna protrudes beyond the height of that mast structure)
they have permitted development rights, but must notify the planning authority to see if [they require] prior approval of the siting, appearance etc of the development.
Therefore this application is seeking a binary decision from the Council on legal grounds about whether or not this proposal requires “prior approval”. If the Council does not respond within 28 days stating that prior approval is required, then the work can proceed without planning permission or any other planning approvals.
The same guidance document, towards the end of para 19, notes:
What needs an application for planning permission?
New ground based masts erected in various designated areas (world heritage sites, conservation areas, ……………)
The proposed site is in the Merchiston and Greenhill Conservation Area, so it would appear non-contentious that planning permission will be required.
The application is open for comments from the public until 7 April 2023. You can lodge a comment using this link to the application on the Council’s portal. To be effective, a comment should make clear why prior approval should be required in this case (i.e. because the site is in a conservation area). Any detailed comments on the proposed design and siting would more appropriately be reserved for the planning application itself.Neil RobbKeymaster
Thanks for the update, very useful.Grange PlanningKeymaster
The Grange Association has submitted this objection to the Council’s planning team, noting that a response is required to the Prior Notification before 28 March 2023.Grange PlanningKeymaster
Those wishing to object to this proposal may be heartened by the refusal on 13 March 2023 of a similar application 22/04200/FUL further north on Whitehouse Loan, opposite No 108. This was for a mast 16m high (i.e. shorter than the 20m proposed for the site opposite No 171). In its Handling Report, explaining the refusal, the Case Officer wrote:
“The development would disrupt the settled and mature character of the immediate vicinity, which is heavily influenced by soft landscaping and buildings formed in traditional and natural materials. It would erode the historic quality of the streetscape, to the detriment of the character and appearance of the conservation area.
“The proposal would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the conservation area and is unacceptable, having regard to Section 64 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.”
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