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The need for consent

Telecommunications development falls into three categories in terms of planning regulations.

These are:

  • development that requires an application for planning permission and/or listed building consent.
  • permitted development that, under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended), is not subject to any requirement for the submission of details to the council.
  • permitted development that requires prior notification. The local planning authority decides, upon notification, whether prior approval as to the siting and appearance of the development is required, and if so whether to grant it or not.

These categories can be broadly subdivided into common categories of telecoms development as below, although exceptions will exist depending upon the precise nature and location of the proposal, such as installations on existing buildings:

Examples:

1. Masts over 15 metres in height:

Masts over 15 metres in height, and any masts in Conservation Areas, require planning permission. Consultation on applications for planning permission will be undertaken in accordance with our standard consultation protocol for telecoms development, details of which are provided in our Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and referred to in more detail in the ‘consultation and publicity’ section.

2 . Small scale telecom development:

Development that complies with the requirements of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) is permitted development and as such does not require planning permission. This can range from the installation of additional antennas on an existing radio mast, to the development of a base station on a building, including equipment cabinets less than 2.5 cubic metres in volume. The developer is obliged under Regulation 5 of the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003 to notify the local planning authority in writing of the intention to install telecommunications apparatus. The development however, is permitted by law and does not require an application to, consultation with or determination by us. Permitted development rights do not apply to telecoms development affecting listed buildings, conservation areas or SSSI’s.

3. Masts up to 15 metres in height and other development:

Development that complies with the requirements of the GDPO, is permitted development. However if the development falls within certain categories (including for example, masts up to 15 metres in height and equipment cabinets more than 2.5 cubic metres in volume) ‘prior notification’ needs to be provided to us. The local planning authority can then decide whether the development requires ‘prior approval’ or not. The prior notification process is distinct from the consideration of a full planning application. In considering whether a prior notification application requires prior approval we can only consider the siting and design details of the proposal, not the principle of the development itself, as the development is permitted by law. Such applications must be determined within 56 days of the submission of a valid application, and if we fail to issue a decision within this period, consent will be deemed to have been given, by default. We can either grant or refuse the proposals on the basis of siting and design, and if refused must give reasons for refusal. There are no statutory powers to impose conditions on any decision. Consultation and publicity on developments that are considered to require prior approval will be undertaken in accordance with our standard consultation protocol for telecoms development, details of which are provided in our Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and referred to in more detail in the ‘consultation and publicity’ section.

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