Application for phone mast plan is rejected

A PLANNING application for a mobile phone mast in Belper has been refused by Amber Valley Borough Council.

Telecommunications giants Vodafone and O2 had applied to erect a 12.8-metre high pole, an equipment cabinet and minor ancillary works.

It would have been sited near the roundabout near the Morrisons supermarket, on land in between New Road and Derby Road.

But councillors on planning board refused to give it permission.

They cited the land’s location within the Belper and Milford Conservation Area and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site, as well as its close proximity to two listed buildings. It also contravened the Amber Valley Borough local plan.

A council report read: “The requirement of a World Heritage Site status is for the borough council to conserve the unique and important cultural landscape of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site by protecting its ‘Outstanding Universal Value’, to interpret and promote its assets and to enhance its character, appearance and economic well-being in a sustainable manner.

“The landscape is one of the key aspects of the World Heritage Site status and the siting of the proposed mast would have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance and the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site and Conservation Area.

“The siting of the mast and the lack of screening or potential to provide any screening also has a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of both the Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site.”

The report also said the mast would be contrary to national guidelines set out in Planning for the Historic Environment (PPS5).

The mast’s close proximity to two listed buildings was also flagged in the report.

In the report it read: “The proposed apparatus is to be located in close proximity to a Grade II-listed building, the former Ward Hosiery Warehouse, and a Grade II*-listed building, the former George Brettle building, which houses the De Bradelei Mill factory outlet. The two listed buildings have historic and visual links with each other.”

Belper Civic Forum welcomed the news. Roger Shelley said: “We think it’s a very sensible decision by the council, taking into account the need not to further damage the view of buildings such as Ward’s warehouse that are an important reminder of the way Belper used to look, and one of the reasons why it was included as part of the World Heritage Site.”