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Go-ahead for EE phone mast on Shropshire border

By Thomas Morton | Clun | News | Published:

A mobile phone mast to extend “critical” coverage over an area of rural Shropshire and mid Wales has been given the go-ahead.

Shropshire Council has approved a “telecommunications station” at Panpunton Hill, north of Knighton on the border of south Shropshire and Wales.

The station will be built by EE Ltd and Hutchinson 3G and will include a 15-metre monopole with two antennae, two dishes, three equipment cabinets and one ground-mounted dish, surrounded by a fence.

The mast is to serve a new “blue light” emergency services network that the Government wants to have in place across the country, particularly in rural areas with poor coverage. The towerBut in addition to playing a role for police, fire and ambulance communications, it would also provide improved network coverage for EE and 3 mobile phone users.

In an application for the mast, Damian Hosker of consultants Wilkinson Helsby, acting on behalf off EE and Hutchinson 3G, said EE had been selected by the Home Office to provide a basic “resilient national mobile network”, and the firm had appointed agents to identify, acquire and get planning permission for sites such as the one at Panpunton Hill “to extend critical site coverage across some of the hard-to-reach areas of the UK.”

In a report, Shropshire Council case officer Heather Bradley said the mast would have little impact on the surrounding countryside or residents. She said: “The site would be just below the top of the ridge in an area made up of a mix of agricultural grass land and groups of mature woodland.

“The area is peppered with both bridleways and public footpaths including the Offa’s Dyke National footpath.

“The nearest residential properties are approximately 388 metres away to the east of the site at Lurcenhope.

“The site and its surrounding landscape are within the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

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“Whilst there are no known heritage assets, designated or un-designated, within the proposed development site boundary, the site is within close proximity to two scheduled monuments – approximately 320 metres to the south west of the site lies the Offa’s Dyke scheduled monument. The Caer Caradoc hillfort scheduled monument sites some three kilometres to the south east.”

The Caer Caradoc site near Chapel Lawn is not to be confused with its more famous namesake at Church Stretton.

Whatever, Historic England, Shropshire Council’s own archaeology experts and the Shropshire Hills AONB partnership were in agreement that the mast would not have a significant impact on the historic countryside setting and its character.

Ms Bradley said: “The impact on surrounding heritage assets including the scheduled monuments is considered to be less than substantial and the public benefits of the scheme carry significant weight.” Shropshire Council agreed that the mast could go ahead without the need for prior approval of the plans, but development must begin within five years.

Thomas Morton

By Thomas Morton
@tmorton_star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star

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