Response to Planning Application for Westbury Court Road

8 Southdown Road
Westbury on Trym
11 January 2022

Dear Mr Macfadyen

Application 21/06356/F: Westbury Court Road

The Society has considered this application and finds it very difficult to understand the justification for the location and the comments in relation to other locations that may also have been considered for this mast and rejected by the applicant. The application indicates that the area of search is limited to a radius of 50m, yet the other sites considered appear to be well beyond that search area.
The Society is aware of other proposals in the neighbourhood, such as on Henleaze Road (21/06485/Y, recently withdrawn), on Coombe Lane (21/06626/Y) and earlier submissions at Greystoke Avenue (approved on appeal) and Charlton Road (21/04011). The Society cannot understand the real needs of telecoms operators for 5G infrastructure with the submission of applications in a one off manner – how close to each other do these masts need to be? How many are really needed by Hutchinson and what about the requirements of other operators? We would welcome the opportunity to understand better the needs of the operator and to offer views on sites in a comprehensive way rather than having to respond to each random submission. The application was submitted before we could respond to the so called pre-application consultation, of which our local councillors advised the Society. The period was so short as to be meaningless.
No consideration has been given by the applicant to heritage issues, which in the Society’s view is a major flaw. The Westbury on Trym Society has a particular interest in the adjacent Westbury on Trym conservation area. The Society had a major involvement with your heritage officers in the preparation of the Westbury on Trym Conservation Area Character Appraisal, adopted in 2015.
Holy Trinity Church on nearby Church Road represents the centre of the earliest settlement of the area, is a grade I listed building and is of great historic significance. The Conservation Area appraisal on page 28 under the section ‘commercial core’ notes the importance of views of the church tower from Westbury Court Road. As shown in the photo below, as the monopole is understood to be 3 metres taller than the adjacent tree at 15 metres in height, the antennae element will be seen above the height tree. At this time of the year, the tree provides no screening of the monopole. The impact on the setting of the church tower will be significant and harmful.
More immediately, the boundary of the conservation area is within a few metres of the site and the siting of the monopole and its associated equipment will harm views of the conservation area from within and outside. In particular, the nearby former Post Office is identified as a local landmark and the three Giles Gilbert Scott K6 telephone kiosks in the forecourt are listed. Photo 2 below shows the view from Church Road back to the site to enable you to understand our concerns. The Conservation Area Appraisal also notes the harmful impact of the over tall street lights, for example on page 28 it states ’A standardised utilitarian approach to street lighting and road markings is conflicting with the human scale and traditional high street function. Reducing the height of the lamp standards rationalising traffic bollards and road markings would enhance the areas character and appearance.’ To add a 15 m high chunky monopole within metres of the conservation area boundary will add further to the clutter (see photo 2).
Furthermore, whilst the site might be considered by Hutchinson to be commercial in character to the rear of the Carlton Court shopping area, it would be a prominent isolated feature, overlooked by residential properties at close quarters especially the nearby flats.
The Society organises and pays for the planters in the village centre and would be willing to sponsor street tree planting in the verge to supplement the single tree on the street. This would help to enhance views of the conservation area and soften the outlook onto the car park from the nearby buildings. The development of the 5G base station here would remove any opportunities for tree planting in the grassed area between the access and egress from the car park.
To conclude, the Society considers that the proposed telecoms development by Hutchinson in this location would be lead to substantial harm to the significance of designated heritage assets and is contrary to para 201 of the NPPF and Development Management policies DM27 and DM31. It should not be permitted.

Yours sincerely
A C Renshaw MRTPI
For the Westbury on Trym Society