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.