Telecommunications Development in Malvern Hills District

Malvern Hills District Council is the local planning authority (LPA) responsible for making decisions on the siting and design of telecommunications equipment in the District.

We are keen to encourage a joint working approach to telecommunications development, to involve everyone in a process that ultimately raises the level of consensus about the type and location of telecommunications equipment.

We aim to ensure that the maximum amount of information about the possible location of telecommunications equipment is made available to the public, and debated as soon as is practicable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Local and National Planning Policy for Telecommunications

In determining all applications for telecommunications installations, the District Council is required to consider its decisions in the light of site-specific issues, such as siting, design, effect on the street scene and highway safety.

The District Council is also required to make its decisions in accordance with nationally established policy, and the specific telecommunications policy in the Malvern Hills District Local Plan (saved Policy QL6).

National planning policy is included in Section 5 of the National Planning Policy Framework ('the Framework'), which provides guidance on planning for telecommunications development - including radio masts, towers and antennas of all kinds.

For many people there is concern about the health implications of telecommunications installations.

There is clearly a scientific debate about this point, which planning officers and members responsible for telecommunications applications need to be aware of.

However, it is important to note that consideration of health issues needs to be in accordance with paragraph 46 of the Framework, which states the following.

"Local planning authorities must determine applications on planning grounds. They should not seek to prevent competition between different operators, question the need for the telecommunications system, or determine health safeguards if the proposal meets International Commission guidelines for public exposure".

Guide to Telecommunications Application Types

In undertaking installations the telecommunications operators have to comply with the requirements of Part 24 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) which establishes whether a proposal requires full planning permission, 'prior approval' or is permitted development.

Licence Notifications

Where the installation of telecommunications apparatus are classed as permitted development, a planning application is not required, and no consultation is carried out by the District Council.

However, under other statutory requirements, operators do have to give the District Council 28 days notice of their intention to install such equipment and allow comment.

However, the District Council has no control over this type of development.

This includes alteration and maintenance of existing antennas, adding antennas to existing roof top installations, and other minor developments.

Applications for Notification of Prior Approval

These notifications have to be determined within 56 days of receipt.

If the District Council does not respond within 56 days the operator has the right to install the apparatus irrespective of the Council's views on the proposal.

When dealing with these notifications, the District Council is only able to consider the siting and appearance of the installation, and not the principle of the development, or any other related issues, as this has already been agreed by legislation.

We have undertaken to consult widely with neighbours and elected representatives in the area on such applications.

These types of developments include new rooftop installations and masts under 15m in height.

Applications for Full Planning Permission

These applications are dealt with in the same way as other planning applications, and all material considerations can be considered.

This includes masts over 15m in height and larger installations, such as large ancillary equipment cabinets.

Malvern Hills District Council Telecommunications Applications Register

This document is a register of all telecommunications related planning applications, including those from the mobile telephone network operators as licensed by the Government.

It is intended as an aid, in order to gain an overall picture of the telecommunications development which has been allowed within the District.

The District Council will publish this in electronic format and is aiming to make this available by the end of the year 2013.

The information will be as correct and up to date as possible, however the District Council would always advise those interested in telecommunications development to contact the mobile network operators direct to discuss their concerns.

The District Council does not accept any responsibility for the use of this information out of context.

When this information is available, for further details of any applications listed, note the reference number and use the planning applications search facility on the Council's website to gain further details of the application.

Roll Out Map

Every Autumn, the five commercial mobile telephone operators provide the Local Planning Authority (LPA) with information, showing the areas within the District where they have a need to site further telecommunications equipment within the coming year.

This information is made available in order that communities and elected members can be involved with discussions regarding siting and design of equipment, with operators prior to the submission of applications to the LPA.

It should be noted that the maps indicate areas of search for new sites, and not specific locations, and thus the precise sitting of equipment can be influenced at an early stage in the site identification process.

For further details regarding each search area, the operators concerned should be contacted directly, and their details are provided on the maps.

Mast or site sharing has long been identified as the best way to avoid the unnecessary proliferation of radio masts.

Condition 3 (4) of the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) regulations 2003 states "a code operator, where practicable, shall share the use of electronic communications apparatus".

To assist code operators and others that may be interested in telecommunications development in the District, a site finder facility is available from arqiva, who owns and operates the UK terrestrial broadcast radio and television networks and who manages around 16,000 sites across the country.

Please note however that not all telecommunications sites within the District are managed by arqiva, so you may still wish to contact the District Council's Planning Services for advice on sites available for sharing.