Readers living and working in rural areas and struggling with their phone signal might be interested in a recent appeal decision in which the inspector recognised the economic and social benefits of decent telecommunications infrastructure (DCS Number 400-014-533).
The appeal was made against the refusal of planning permission for a 16m high telecommunications column in the green belt north of Leeds. The inspector ruled that the column would be inappropriate development in the green belt since it was not listed as an exception under Paragraph 90 of the NPPF. She held that it would result in limited harm to the openness of the green belt since it would introduce a very small amount of built development where currently none existed. She also found that it would be a somewhat obtrusive manmade feature within the landscape and would result in some harm to the character and appearance of the countryside.
The inspector recorded, however, that 4G coverage was virtually non-existent for large parts of the area, and that the parish council had expressed support for the proposal, saying that phone reception was not good. She made reference to paragraph 42 of the NPPF which says that advanced, high quality communications infrastructure is essential for sustainable economic growth and that the development of communications networks also plays a vital role in enhancing the provision of local community facilities and services. She concluded that the public benefits of the proposal would amount to the very special circumstances sufficient to justify permitting the proposal.
The following DCP section is relevant: 28.138