PROPOSAL FOR A TELECOMMUNICATIONS MAST ON SHORNE COMMON
On 17 January 2017, Shorne Parish Council launched its own consultation to seek the views of local residents on Galliford Try’s request to enter into negotiations for an agreement to lease land on Shorne Common for their proposed mobile telecommunications base station. The consultation closed at midnight on 28th February 2020.
UPDATE – APRIL 2020
Galliford Try, acting on behalf of Cornerstone Telecommunications and Telefonica UK, wrote to Shorne Parish Council last year, formally requesting to enter into negotiations to reach a consensual agreement to establish the base station on Shorne Common.
The Parish Council had previously informed them that, whilst we recognise the need to improve mobile phone coverage in Shorne, we consider that their proposal to install a 25 metre lattice tower on Shorne Common is insensitive and inappropriate, and they should look for alternative solutions.
However, in the event that the Parish Council refuses to enter into negotiations with them, they have the right to seek a court order to impose an ageement on us, irrespective of the views of residents and irrespective of ownership of the land. This is the power they have under the terms of The Electronic Communications Code in Schedule 3A of The Communications Act.
The Parish Council has obtained legal advice, and we have advised Galliford Try that as the land was granted to us in trust for the specific purpose of providing a recreation ground for the benefit of the inhabitants of the parish, we do not consider that it is appropriate to enter into negotiations without first consulting with the inhabitants of the parish. We therefore carried out a local consultation earlier this year.
The latest information we have is that the proposal is currently on hold whilst the infrastructure provider has discussions regarding a possible alternative location.
The letter received from Galliford Try, requesting to enter into negotiations for an agreement, can be found by clicking on the box below.
In November 2019, Shorne Parish Council received a formal proposal from Galliford Try, on behalf of Cornerstone and Telefonica (O2), to install a 25 metre high lattice tower base station in an 8 metre x 8 metre compound on Shorne Common, off Mill Hill Lane.
They have asked our views prior to their formal planning application to Gravesham Borough Council. You can view their plans in the section to the right, or by scrolling down the page.
This proposal was neither initiated nor is it welcome by Shorne Parish Council. It is on parish-owned land which was gifted to the parish council by the Earl of Darnley in 1908 for the purpose of providing “a Recreation Ground intended for the use of the inhabitants of the Parish”.
Shorne Parish Council has diligently held and maintained the land in trust for this specific purpose, and we consider that it is neither within our desire nor within our power to willingly permit the land to be used for any purpose other than that for which it was entrusted to us. We have therefore informed Galliford Try that we do not agree with their proposal.
We recognise the need to improve mobile network coverage in Shorne, and have expressed our willingness to work with responsible infrastructure providers to find a solution that achieves this objective whilst minimising the adverse impact on the local environment, and we are confident that the majority of Shorne residents would support this approach. However, we consider that a proposal for a 25 metre high lattice tower and an 8 metre square compound located within a locally-valued amenity is both insensitive and inappropriate, irrespective of ownership of the location.
We are aware that under recent changes to The Communications Act 2003, infrastructure operators can apply to the courts to compulsorily impose an agreement on the landowner to permit the infrastructure company to acquire the land for their equipment. Should they decide to go down this route, we have informed Galliford Try that the Parish Council is minded to oppose any such application through the courts.
We have also informed Galliford Try that should they submit a planning application to install the equipment as proposed, the Parish Council is minded to object to the application on valid material planning grounds.
Should they still intend to pursue this proposal despite our opposition, we have urged them to hold a public consultation meeting to outline their proposals, and to allow local residents to ask questions and express their concerns, before they submit a formal planning application. Shorne Parish Council has offered to facilitate and publicise such a meeting on their behalf. However Galliford Try has informed us that their client does not intend to hold a public consultation meeting.
Shorne Parish Council is taking legal advice, and we will keep residents informed of developments.
HAVING YOUR SAY ON THE PROPOSAL
We appreciate that some residents will object to this proposal, and would like to express their views. We also appreciate that good mobile phone connections are important and that some residents will support the proposal.
We have urged Galliford Try to consult with local residents, and have offered to facilitate a public meeting on their behalf, but they have declined. Shorne Parish Council will therefore hold its own consultation to understand the views of Shorne residents.
However, there is nothing to prevent individuals from writing direct to Galliford Try, Cornerstones, and/or Telefonica, but you should be aware that they are under no obligation to take your comments into consideration at this stage.
In any event, we understand that they will need to submit a formal planning application to Gravesham Borough Council before they can proceed. There will then be a formal consultation process and Gravesham Borough Council will be obliged to take public comments into consideration when determining their decision. Until a planning application is submitted, it is unlikely that they will take comments into account.
We understand that some organisations and some residents have health concerns about the close proximity of telecommunication equipment. However, we are informed that the proposed installation will be fully compliant with the public exposure guidelines established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines have the support of UK Government, the European Union, and they also have the formal backing of the World Health Organisation.
Whether you accept these international guidelines is a matter of personal choice. However, local authorities are bound to accept them. The National Planning Policy Framework states that “Local planning authorities must determine applications on planning grounds only. They should not seek to prevent competition between different operators, question the need for an electronic communications system, or set health safeguards different from the International Commission guidelines for public exposure”. It is therefore unlikely that Gravesham Borough Council will be able to reject any planning application on health grounds. Whilst there is nothing to stop any party from raising their concerns and objecting on health grounds, objections on valid planning grounds are likely to carry more weight.
Shorne Parish Council will keep residents informed of developments.
The letter received from Galliford Try setting out their proposals can be found by clicking on the box below:
You can view and download the revised plans by clicking on the box below.
Cornerstone’s General Background information can be seen by clicking on the box below:
Take part in the consultation by clicking on the box below.
Mr Chris Hall – Consultant Surveyor
Galliford Try Telecoms
Warrington WA3 6UT
Graham Prothero – Chief Executive Officer
Galliford Try PLC
Cowley Business Park
Middlesex UB8 2AL
Rhys Phillip – Chief Executive Officer
1530 Arlington Business Park
Berkshire RG7 4SA
Mark Evans – Chief Executive
Telefonica UK Ltd
260 Bath Road
Berkshire SL1 4DX
Gravesham Borough Council
Kent DA12 1AU