Agenda item

22/01342/TD Land at The Rear Of 33 And 35 Coombelands, Melbourn Road, Royston, Hertfordshire, SG8 7DW


Installation of 15m monopole tower to support antenna, associated radio-equipment housing and ancillary development hitherto.


RESOLVED: That application 22/01342/TD be GRANTED planning permission subject to the reasons set out in the report of the Development and Conservation Manager.



Audio recording – 90 minutes 45 seconds


N.B – The Chair allowed a short break following the completion of Agenda Item 8.


The Planning Officer advised that 11 objections had been received in total and that further documentation received from the applicant had been shared with Members ahead of the meeting.


The Planning Officer read a written statement from Councillor Chris Hinchliff, as ward Member, who was unable to attend due to a positive Covid test. This statement included:


·         The responses submitted to the application show that there is strong local opposition to the proposals from residents and the Town Council.

·         This is not an attempt to challenge the planning policies, but rather to draw to attention that this new mast infrastructure will not improve the coverage in or benefit the area, where it is generally already good.

·         The proposed mast would be taller than the existing street furniture, but also the roof lines of local residences, and will therefore be visible from these.

·         The prosed introduction of the industrial mast to a predominantly residential area would affect residents quiet enjoyment.

·         The proposals are off a narrow part of Melbourn road and would impose onto the footpath. There would consequently be a negative visual impact on this area of Royston, as outlined in comments from residents and those of the Town Council.


The Planning Officer presented the report in respect of application 22/01342/TD supported by a visual presentation consisting of photographs and plans.


The following Members asked questions:


·         Councillor Tom Tyson

·         Councillor Morgan Derbyshire

·         Councillor David Levett

·         Councillor Alistair Willoughby

·         Councillor Amy Allen


In response to questions, the Planning Officer advised:


·         The description on the application is for 15metres and the plans detail this, unsure why the 20metre pole is shown on the slides.

·         They were unaware how far the site was from the nearest school site.

·         This proposal is for a new installation.

·         Non-Iodising Radiation protection has to be taken into account regarding schools nearby, but there are not further requirements than this for planning considerations and it does not apply to private residencies with children.


The Chair invited Mr Chris Lobb to speak against the application.


Mr Lobb thanked the Chair for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation, including:


·         He was a resident of a nearby property and spoke on behalf of other residents.

·         Improving connectivity was important for businesses and individuals.

·         Taking into account sustainable development, it was important that changes were made to improve the future, it should not compromise the present.

·         The small estate has already had additions and developments, including new housing and a bus stop.

·         The nature of the mast will not be suitable for the area and will be an eyesore and will impact those living locally as it will rise above the treeline and no clever design will disguise this.

·         Further developments to the mast, such as installation of CCTV cameras, would impact further on the privacy of local residents.

·         No parking facilities on the A10 for the maintenance vehicles, putting pedestrians and works at risk.

·         The site surveys had not been conducted fully and there had been no consideration to alternative sites, where residencies are not affected.


There were no points of clarification from Members for Mr Lobb and the Chair thanked him for his presentation.


The Chair invited the Planning Officer to respond to points raised during the public presentations, including:


·         The applicant had chosen the site for a specific reason and they have detailed with other sites were not considered suitable.

·         It was not proposed that the mast would impact on the footpath, as it would be located on the grass verge.

·         There is parking for maintenance vehicles in the lay-by opposite the proposed site.

·         The Planning Officer has no further right to ask for Health and Safety considerations, other than the non-iodising radiation certificate, which had been provided by the applicant.


The following Members took part in the debate:


·         Councillor Tony Hunter

·         Councillor Simon Bloxham

·         Councillor David Levett

·         Councillor Tom Tyson

·         Councillor Amy Allen

·         Councillor Nigel Mason

·         Councillor Alistair Willoughby


Points raised during the debate included:


·         Proposed masts have previously caused concerns from residents and this was an ongoing issues with residents and companies. It was important to balance the needs of the company with the desires of residents.

·         The proposals shown look out of plan in comparison to the housing.

·         There was considerable thought given by companies as to the most suitable site for these new masts to ensure maximum exposure.

·         There were no material planning considerations for refusing this application and the concerns raised had been addressed in the report.

·         The measurements on the plans shown to Members show a different height and it would be helpful to have clarification of this.

·         It was noted that the plans did display a height of 14.4metres.


In response to points raised in the debate, the Planning Officer advised:


·         It will be visible from nearby properties, but there was nothing specific about this area which could be applied to prevent the mast.

·         There had been a change to legislation in March 2022, which would allow extension of the mast up to 25metres, but this site is on a highways and therefore a further application would be required for approval.

·         All proposals and documentation have it as a 15metre mast application.


Councillor David Levett proposed and Councillor Morgan Derbyshire seconded and, following a vote, it was:


RESOLVED: That application 22/01342/TD be GRANTED planning permission subject to the reasons set out in the report of the Development and Conservation Manager.


Supporting documents: