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New 20m high 5G telecoms mast in Mayfield Road
PlanningPostJune 25, 2020, 09:59
Posts: 141
April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicNew 20m high 5G telecoms mast in Mayfield Road

UK H3G ("Three") has applied for permission to install a 20m high mast, opposite 55 Mayfield Road. The mast and the associated cabinets would occupy the space currently filled by the advertising banner for Edinburgh Roofing Services in this streetview. The details are set out in this document accompanying the planning application. Full details of the planning application are available on the Council's planning portal at 20/02337/FUL. The last date for comments to be submitted is 24 July 2020.

The site lies just within the boundary of the Grange Conservation Area.

The supporting document explains:

There is now a requirement to upgrade the UK H3G (Three) network to provide improved coverage and capacity, most notably in relation to 5G services. This proposal is for a 20m SW (Street Works) monopole located on the adopted highways at Mayfield Road, Newington, Edinburgh, EH9 3AA.

Three are in the process of building out the UK’s fastest 5G network. Three has 140MHz of 5G spectrum (and 100MHz of it contiguous), which means our service will be much faster and able to handle more data. To bring this new technology to the people H3G will need to provide a mix of upgrades to existing sites and the building of new sites. New sites will be needed for many reasons, including that the higher radio frequencies used for 5G do not travel as far as those frequencies currently in use and that sometimes not all existing sites can be upgraded. In this area there is an acute need for a new mast to deliver the above. It should be noted however, that the nature of 5G and the network services it provides, means the equipment and antennas required are quite different to the previous, and existing, service requirements. In particular, the nature of the antennas, and the separation required from other items of associated equipment, is such that it cannot utilise some existing structures that provide an installation for another operator, most notably in a street works or highways environment. The site selection process has also been influenced by the numerous vertical elements of street furniture distributed around the vicinity of the site including street lighting columns. The height of the pole has been kept down to the absolute minimum capable of providing the required essential new 5G coverage. The site has been selected on a wide adopted area of the highway in a position that will not impede pedestrian flow or the safety of passing motorists. The cabinets are located at the base of the new pole...[...]. This equipment is considered unlikely to have any material impact on the local area but significant connectivity improvements which is a material consideration in the judgement of the sites suitability. The cell search area was assessed at the Survey stage from a planning and residential amenity perspective. The planning constraints (where there are any) have shaped the location of the proposal.

The applicant appreciates that the site is in a Conservation Area. There is, however, no alternative other than to place the equipment in the Conservation Area. This is an extremely constrained cell search area and Conservation Areas require coverage as do other areas of the UK. The optimum solution from a planning perspective has, however, been chosen within the Conservation Area to minimise its visual impact. The Conservation Area will, however, be both preserved and enhanced with improved connectivity and coverage.

The site is located off Mayfield Road within a Residential area surrounded by existing street furniture (street lighting/ signs) and mature trees. The site has been set against a screening backdrop of tall mature tree planting. Long distance views will benefit from partial screening from the existing street furniture and trees. To address residential amenity issues as much as possible the monopole and associated equipment has been placed outside Edinburgh Roofing Services.

The proposed installation is an H3G LTE (Three) Phase 8 Monopole which will house H3G LTE (Three). The proposal is required due to acute capacity issues and will facilitate significantly improved 5G in areas that have started to gain this service and newly introduce it to the areas that have not gained this level of connectivity yet.

In keeping with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF July 2018). guidelines of using high quality communications infrastructure the proposed design has been selected to minimise visual impact upon the street scene by integrating with the existing street furniture, having similar vertical lines and overall appearance to the numerous street lighting columns in this area.

The 5G antennas are some 3 times as heavy as previous antennas, while the associated Remote Radio Units also now need to be placed at the top of the pole, thus many street works designs are no longer structurally capable of hosting all the equipment of 2 operators. It should be noted that the alternative option that could accommodate both operators (EE and H3G LTE who have a site sharing agreement) would be a more traditional ‘greenfield’ mast, with an open headframe and more bulky design, which would be inappropriate in a street scene location. There is no such location in this cell search area where a greenfield mast could be housed and thus site sharing is not a viable proposition.

This specific proposal forms part of an integral requirement for H3G LTE to expand its 5G telecommunications network across Edinburgh specifically in this instance to enhance 5G coverage levels and network capacity within the EH9 area.

Mobile phone base stations operate on a low power and accordingly base stations therefore need to be located in the areas they are required to serve. Increasingly, people are also using their mobiles in their homes and this means we need to position base stations in, or close to, residential areas.

A further limiting factor is that the position has to be one that fits in with the existing network. Sites have to form a patchwork of coverage cells with each cell overlapping to a limited degree with the surrounding base stations to provide continuous network cover as users move from one cell to the other. However, if this overlap is too great unacceptable interference is created between the two cells.

membershipPostJune 25, 2020, 12:47
Posts: 320
March 24, 2015, 10:28
Normal topicNew 20m high 5G telecoms mast in Mayfield Road

(apologies for the erroneous detail in my update - the site is inside the Conservation Area (just). The boundary runs down the middle of Mayfield Road and this is on our side of it)

BradleyPostJune 26, 2020, 13:52
Posts: 3
May 10, 2019, 11:50
Normal topicNew 20m high 5G telecoms mast in Mayfield Road

60 feet (20 metres) even on this slightly lower level site sounds significantly out if character. What will it actually look like? I assume this will not simply be a single slim pole but kit with more kit on it. Can the proposers provide an indication of what this will look like on the street view? - quite notable they haven't done this! And we maybe then get an idea how it actually looks close and distant?

PlanningPostJuly 1, 2020, 09:00
Posts: 141
April 4, 2018, 13:36
Normal topicNew 20m high 5G telecoms mast in Mayfield Road


The application includes this elevation drawing. This is not quite a streetview montage, but it does let us see what the mast will look like and to be able to compare it with the streetlamp to the left to get a feel of the scale.

ArbeePostJuly 1, 2020, 09:08
Posts: 34
September 24, 2013, 10:10
Normal topicNew 20m high 5G telecoms mast in Mayfield Road

Whoa ... that is huge !

Peter RPostJuly 26, 2020, 18:56
Posts: 2
July 13, 2020, 06:47
Normal topicNew 20m high 5G telecoms mast in Mayfield Road

As one of the few immediate neighbours to be notified, despite such a high structure affecting many more visually, we have written in objecting to the application as follows:

The proposal contravenes Design Principles and Policies in Edinburgh Local Development Plan (ELDP), as follows:

Visual Impact:
This large structure will dominate the streetscape for all users of Mayfield Road and will be a very intrusive and ugly presence in the view from all the properties and gardens in the vicinity. Given that "in Conservation Areas additional level of control helps to ensure that small scale incremental changes do not damage the character of the conservation areas" (ELDP, Design Principles) we do not see how the present proposal does other than damage "the character and interest of which (the Conservation Area) it is desirable to preserve and enhance."
The applicant states that this mast will be partially hidden by the surrounding mature trees. At 20 metres it will tower over the trees and for half of the year those trees are bare of any leaves.

Health impact:
The effect of the electromagnetic radio emissions on the health of humans is disputed. ELDP ENV POL 22 states that "Planning permission will only be granted for development where: a) there will be no significant adverse effects for health, the environment and amenity.." Good practice is to err on the safe side.
The Council should consider whether it is sensible to site a large 5G mast on a road that is a core route into the city centre from the south and is popular with cyclists and pedestrians.
The cycle lanes on Mayfield Road are well used all year round and are particularly popular with students going to and from the University of Edinburgh's Kings Buildings. The pavements are busy with school children and their parents going to Sciennes Primary School. There is a bus stop within 10 metres of the proposed site.
As the owner of one of the properties most affected,..., we are devastated that, should this mast be erected, we will no longer be able to spend time in our garden without seeing this mast and feeling uneasy about its impact on our health.

Conservation Area:
The proposal contravenes the Policy within the ELDP applicable to Conservation Areas, in terms of: ENV POL 6: Development - this should "preserve or enhance the special character.." while the proposed mast clearly does the opposite.

ELDP states that under Policy RS7 "Telecommunications Planning permission will be granted for telecommunications development provided:
a) the visual impact of the proposed development has been minimised through careful siting, design and, where appropriate, landscaping.
b) it has been demonstrated that all practicable options and alternative sites have been considered, including the possibility of using existing masts, structures and buildings and/or site sharing"
ELDP also states (306) "The provision of new telecommunications infrastructure is essential to economic competitiveness. The telecommunications industry must be enabled to expand and diversify, but this must be undertaken sensitively and imaginatively, and with minimum environmental impact. Telecommunications equipment such as antennas, mobile phone masts and base stations can have a significant visual impact in both urban and rural areas. Telecommunications operators are therefore required to demonstrate that all practicable options to minimise impact have been explored, and the best solution identified.
No such assessment has been provided, so the applicant has not demonstrated that they have seriously considered alternative sites (e.g. the cemetery located to the north west of the Grange Conservation Area would be a less visible site for the mast and it would not impact on as many households or pedestrians/cyclists). We feel the current application should be rejected until these documents have been included for public consultation in the planning process and can be assessed and commented upon.

Whilst 3G may have complied with the letter of the law in terms of Neighbourhood Notification they certainly have failed to notify all the properties that will be affected by this application. Only 4 households were notified.
It is not acceptable for this application to slip through during the summer months when the normal processes of local democracy are disrupted. Additionally, the impact of Covid 19 on the working of Edinburgh Council and its staff has made access to information impossible.

In summary on all of the above grounds we recommend the current application is rejected.

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