Planning mix-up over 39ft mast in Northumberland village

A planning mix-up has seen permission given to a 12-metre mast right next to an approved housing development in a Northumberland village.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 2:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 6:32 pm
Heading into Glanton. Picture c/o Google Streetview

A bid to build six new detached homes on land south of The Juries, off The Causeway, in Glanton, was lodged back in early 2017 before being given the green light in February 2018.

Earlier this year, Arqiva applied for permission to erect a 12m smart-metering mast and ground-level cabinet in the grass verge on this stretch of The Causeway.

The council requested more information from the applicant when the scheme was submitted, but, despite no response from the company, a ‘loophole’ combined with an error meant the developer could go ahead anyway after 56 days.

The planning officer’s subsequent report says the ‘position of the mast would be immediately adjacent to two of the approved dwellings’ and therefore ‘this choice of site is in conflict with the applicant’s own selection process’, which seeks to avoid ‘sites that are in direct and near view from residential properties’.

It adds: ‘In terms of the landscape, it is also considered the mast would have a negative impact on visual amenity by being positioned at the gateway to the village.’

However, it goes on to explain ‘due to a procedural error’ the application was held as invalid on the system for longer than 56 days.

‘As such, the local planning authority cannot seek to prohibit the siting of this mast in this location as we are outside of the period allowed to the local planning department to make such a determination.’

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “The planning team asked for further information from the developer, which they did not provide. In the meantime, we should have continued to the stage of issuing them with our position.

“If the council does not consider such an application within 56 days, the developer is able to go ahead with their proposals under permitted development rights.

“We could not in either case have objected to the principle of the mast, but we are not content with its siting.

“We are now working with the developer in the hope that we may be able to agree an alternative site for it.”