PC Consultation Response to Proposed Telephone Mast

Re:  Proposed base station installation at South Street Car Park, Mayfield, TN20 6DD

I am writing further to your letter dated 21 June 2019 requesting the views of Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish Council on the proposal to install a mast and base station in South Street car park, Mayfield.

The Parish Council is very aware of the need for an improved mobile phone signal, as do the residents and businesses, and is keen to work with you with identifying an appropriate site that is acceptable to the community.

The Planning Committee supports the improved design of the mast that is proposed to be a monopole as it is more discreet than the design of the tower at the junction of Little Trodgers Lane and Tunbridge Wells Road.

However, the proposed location of South Street car park is found to be inappropriate and not acceptable to the Parish Council and residents. This location enjoys one of the finest views of the surrounding countryside and AONB for residents, tourists and patrons of the Middle House Hotel, a business that draws in visitors maintaining the High Street vibrancy.

The Planning Committee, on behalf of the Parish Council, has consulted with residents and has the following issues:

  • The 12.5m height of the mast will detract from the view as it is significantly taller than the surrounding trees and will become even more visible after leaf fall. This will also have an impact on the Conservation Area that is immediately adjacent and the surrounding listed buildings. The proposed east elevation plan is incorrect as the height of the existing streetlight is much shorter in relation to the mast and not accurately represented.
  • The consultation process has been inconsistent as the Middle House, the largest business to be affected, was not included and other surrounding property holders have informed that they have not been approached.
  • There are concerns as to the conflict of interest that will arise as any financial compensation will be to Wealden District Council who own the car park and would oversee any future planning submission.
  • Further work is clearly required to explore alternative sites. The information provided on why other sites do not meet your requirements appears to have been a desktop exercise rather than detailed research.

What cannot be understood is why a mast could not be installed further away from the village centre with micro boosters to enhance signal. This option currently works well with the provider ‘EE’ so undoubtedly the same would apply for Telefonica. Surely acceptable locations for boosters could then be found after ‘piggybacking’ off their existing mast?

The Parish Council has previously indicated that an acceptable location would be behind the Fire Station or even if possible on its tower. This is a very short distance and further above sea level than the previous submitted location at Little Trodgers Lane. The reasons why this has been rejected do not seem to be sincere and it is felt should be reexamined.

Information you need to be aware of is that a petition against the site has been received with in excess of 150 signatures with more anticipated. We are also aware that properties along Mayfield High Street have a covenant attached to their deeds to not allow structures above a certain height to the rear of their properties as they would obstruct the view. This could also apply to land at the car park.

As mentioned earlier and in the previous submission, the Parish Council would like to work with you on finding an acceptable location and would be pleased to meet with you to discuss different options and to try to understand the requirements required for each possible location.