Telecoms Masts and equipment


Land opposite 105 North Road – telecoms equipment (Richmond Council ref. 18/1989/TEL)

Update 20/10/2018

Local residents were concerned to find EE workmen on site with a number of vehicles and, given the number of vehicles and workmen present, understandably questioned whether the work was simply about establishing sight lines as EE had said (see the update of 18/10/2018 below). We asked Zac Goldsmith MP to seek clarification from EE who have replied to say:

“The survey has to be done from the potential height(s) of the potential sites, so a cherry picker is needed; the cherry picker has to sit on a lorry with stabilisers, which make it wider, hence the traffic restrictions needed to undertake that safely; the whole exercise needs managing and operating and measuring, hence the team in the works van.”

This may explain the work that took place but we have yet to receive a response to our letter to EE (see the update below of 14/10/2018) and we are also seeking confirmation from Richmond Council to confirm discussions with EE have indeed re-started, we hope this time in good faith, on alternative sites. We are also continuing to raise with Richmond Council the option of a review of their Supplementary Planning Guidance on telecoms equipment (see the update below of 18/10/2018).

Update 18/10/2018

Zac Goldsmith MP has confirmed that he wrote to Marc Allera at EE on our behalf as follows:

“I am writing regarding the Kew society’s objection to the proposed mobile phone mast opposite 105 North Road in Kew ward (Richmond Council ref 18/1989/TEL.) attached.

I understand that there has been an agreement for your company’s representatives to meet with the Richmond council to address concerns over this location and possible alternatives. That is good news, but I would appreciate it if you could ensure that the meeting happens as soon as possible.

I hope that EE will not rush to install the tower without taking the appropriate measures to work with the Richmond council and to address local concerns”.

He has received the following assurance from EE in reply:

“Marc has forwarded on your email to me to quickly provide an update. I’d like to reassure you that no build will go ahead without the correct permissions, and we will be working closely with Richmond Council to ensure local concerns are addressed.

Technically, Richmond Council responded outside of the agreed deadline, and we would be within our rights to go ahead with the construction – but we’re not going to. We’re going to meet again with the Council, and re-consult on a potential location. We will not be building without this new consultation.

You may be aware that there was a suggestion from a local resident today that we had started building on this location; the resident was mistaken. Our team were visiting to do a ‘line of sight’ test, to help us understand potential locations for the new mast”.

This is reassuring and we have contacted Richmond Council again to check that discussions with EE have re-started. We are also continuing to ask Richmond Council to lead a review of their Supplementary Planning Guidance on telecoms equipment to positively identify sites suitable for telecoms equipment rather than just identifying, as at present, the locations which, in general, would not be acceptable. We hope that the Council will prioritise such a review which would in our view lead to better engagement between the community and telecoms providers and save the time of Council officials in reviewing individual applications.

Update 14/10/2018

After seeking clarification from Richmond Council about EE’s claim to have “deemed consent” for the 20 metre mast and other  telecoms equipment on the land opposite 105 North Road we have today written to EE to ask for clarification of their position. You can see our letter here: Telecoms Land opposite 105 North Road

We have referred to our understanding of their agent’s conversations with Richmond Council and invoked “estoppel” to prevent EE from installing equipment at this site. We have again referred to our willingness to work with Richmond Council and suppliers to identify more suitable sites in Kew so that we can all benefit from much needed improved connectivity. This could build on the Council’s existing guidance:

The existing Council guidance focuses on locations that are inappropriate, with which we agree, but we would like to see a more proactive approach to identify suitable locations.

We have also contacted Zac Goldsmith MP to ask him to write to EE so that they respect the Council’s refusal of the application and strongly felt local views.

Update 10/08/2018

This application has been refused on grounds of the detrimental impact on conservation areas and listed buildings as well as potential impact on trees. The developer, EE, believes it has deemed consent and that it is for Richmond Council to prove otherwise. We are seeking clarification on this from the Council.

We are also asking Richmond Council to consider a pro-active strategy, building on their Supplementary Planning Document, to identify suitable sites for much needed improved connectivity.

Update 08/07/2018

We have objected to the prior approval application for a 20m antennae and associated equipment at this location citing the Council’s Supplementary Planning Document reasons for this location being inappropriate. You can see the policy guidance here: .

We have also offered to help the Council develop proposals on sites that would be appropriate for such equipment since it is clear that, though this location is inappropriate, improvements in connectivity are needed in Kew. Our previous efforts to engage with equipment providers, which you can see in the entries below, did not succeed despite persistent offers from us to help. We hope discussion with Richmond Council might prove a better route to progress on this issue,

Update 25/02/2017

The contract for new telecoms equipment on the roof of the National Archives has been signed with Vodafone. Installation is still being planned following site visits.

Update 04/01/2017

An application for telecoms equipment in the Old Deer Park at Pools on the Park  (ref 16/4132/MOB) has been turned down by Richmond Council.

The appeal for a certificate of lawful development at St Anne’s church on Kew Green has also been dismissed, the Inspector agreeing with Richmond Council that the application constituted development which would have a detrimental effect on the exterior appearance of the cupola. We hope the applicant will reconsider its designs and submit a full planning application for this site.

Update 26/11/2016

A new mast and equipment has been granted prior approval at the junction of Mortlake Road and Courtlands Avenue adjacent to the cemetery boundary (ref 16/3896/TEL).

Update 03/09/2016

St Anne’s Church bell tower, Kew Green (ref. 16/1489/PS192)

An appeal has now been made on the application turned down by Richmond Council for equipment to be installed within the St Anne;s bell tower which we had supported.

Update 29/07/2016

Richmond Council have turned down the application for telecoms equipment at the Royal Botanic Gardens Campanile (ref 16/1567/LBC and 16/1563/MOB). In their comments, the Council have said that “the applicants did not seek formal pre-application advice, and the scheme was found to be contrary to policy and guidance, and subsequently refused. The Council is ready to enter into discussions to advise the applicants of relevant policy and guidance; and where possible assist in the preparation of a new planning permission”.

As with the application at St Anne’s Church, we hope the applicant will follow up on this with the Council to resolve the design issues.

Update 07/07/2016

We are disappointed that Richmond Council turned down the application for a certificate of lawful development (ref 16/1489/PS192) for telecoms equipment at St Anne’s church on Kew Green. We have contacted the Council who have explained that,following a site visit, they concluded that the equipment would be visible from the exterior of this listed building. It would therefore require a full planning application. They also pointed out that a full application for a similar development was turned down some time ago (ref 12/1666/FUL).

We have contacted the advisers to the applicant who have confirmed they are considering making an appeal.

We of course support the need to protect listed buildings but hope that the equipment can be installed without visual detriment to the building, perhaps with some modification to the design and pre-application discussion with the Council.

Update 30/5/2106

We have commented to support the applications for listed building consent and planning permission for telecoms equipment at the Campanile at the Victoria Gate entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens. (Council references 16/1567/LBC and 16/1563/MOB). Like the application for St Anne’s church, this will be visually unobtrusive, is stated to be compliant with guidance on radio frequency non-ionising radiation and will improve reception in the area. We have asked for confirmation that there will be space for other providers in the future, in addition to Vodafone and Telefonica.

We are continuing to try and engage with CTIL to help identify any other suitable locations should these still be needed once the work at the National Archives, St Anne”s church and the Campanile, all of which we have supported, is complete.

Update 10/05/2016

An application for a Certificate of Lawful Development for telecoms equipment in the bell tower of St Anne’s church Kew Green has now been submitted by CTIL on behalf of Vodafone and Telefonica – Council planning reference 16/1489/PS192. All the works are internal and the equipment will be hidden to view within the bell tower behind new wire meshing. A statement of compliance with the guidance on radio frequency non-ionising radiation is included in the application. St Anne’s will receive rental income from the installation.

The work will bring welcome improvements to reception in the area. We would like to see confirmation that there will be sufficient space in the design for other service providers in future.

Frustratingly, despite reminders, we are still waiting for CTIL to reply to our suggestion of a meeting to discuss other locations in Kew for equipment should this still be needed after the planned work at St Anne’s, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the National Archives. We are keen to help where we can and have already advised that Richmond Council’s planning department have confirmed to us that they are not aware of any moratorium on using locations owned by the Council which CTIL had told us was their understanding.

Update 4/03/2016

The Appeal Inspector has refused the appeal for the mast and equipment at Mortlake Road/West Hall Road. See the decision 3133227 – Appeal Decision.

The comments made by the Inspector are in line with the refusal by Richmond Council and the objections we raised.

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), acting for Vodafone and Telefonica have now told us of their plans for the area as a whole so we can enter into constructive discussions with them on more suitable locations. These are likely to include the National Archives, the campanile at the Victoria Gate entrance to the Royal Botanic Gardens, and St Anne’s church bell tower. These may not need planning applications and we are looking at acceptability – these may all be good locations if carefully designed. At present they believe 1 further location in the Kew area will be needed to bring services up to acceptable standards.We want to work with them to find an acceptable solution and are considering ideas. Thoughts on where might be suitable are welcome via our “contact us” email address.

Mast and equipment at Mortlake Road/West Hall Road Junction (Council ref. 15/0191/TEL and 15/5258/TEL and appeal ref APP/L5810/W/15/3133227)

Update 05/02/2016

We are pleased to see that Richmond Council has refused permission for the telecoms mast and cabinet.

Vodafone have been in touch with us and we are asking them for their overall plans for the area, including working with other providers. We support the need for improvements in services but  believe this can be achieved with equipment in more appropriate locations. The points we have made to Vodafone are well covered in Richmond Council’s guidance in their Supplementary Planning Document on telecoms which you can see here.

Update 13/01/2016

Vodafone have submitted yet another application for a mast and, this time, 1 telecoms cabinet at this location. We have objected again. We understand that Vodafone are still in discussion with the National Archives on placing their equipment on the National Archives roof. This is acceptable to the National Archives, would, we understand, give better improvements for reception than at the Mortlake Road site and would be much more acceptable in terms of visual impact. We support the need for better telecoms services but this can be achieved at the National Archives site. The stumbling block may be costs as Vodafone would need to pay the National Archives and agree access times for maintenance but we believe this would be a far better outcome for the community. In the meantime the result of the appeal by Vodafone against rejection of its previous application at this site is also still awaited.

Update 16/10/2015

The National Archives have now helpfully submitted their own comments to the Appeal Inspectorate confirming they are in on-going detailed discussion with Vodafone to locate their equipment at the Archives. It seems that not only would this be aesthetically more acceptable than the appeal location, but it would also provide better reception than from the appeal site. We hope this information will be sufficient evidence for the appeal inspector to uphold Richmond Council’s refusal of permission. We support the need to improve connectivity. This case demonstrates that this can be achieved whilst also respecting the local environment.

Update 12/10/2015

Vodafone have lodged an appeal against Richmond Council’s refusal of permission for the installation of a telecommunications mast and equipment cabinets at this site. We have made further comments to the appeal inspectorate (Planning Portal Appeals ref APP/L5810/W/15/3133227) including the fact that the appellant does not seem to have explored all options for alternative, more acceptable, positions for the mast and equipment. We have also approached The National Archives as this could be one suitable alternative. The Archives have confirmed they are in on-going discussions with Vodafone for the equipment to be positioned on their building. We believe this would be a much more acceptable location. It is not clear why Vodafone have lodged an appeal when an alternative acceptable solution may be available. We are keeping in touch with the National Archives on the latest position.

Update 27/03/2015

Many residents objected to the proposals for a phone mast, dishes and four cabinets at the junction of Mortlake Road and West Hall Road. Whilst we recognise the need to invest in infrastructure to improve communication speeds, we objected to the positioning and asked for other, less prominent and sensitive sites, to be explored. We are pleased to see the application has been refused.

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