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Could planners scupper Yorkshire Dales fixed wireless trial?
Thursday 05 March 2015 09:46:46 by Andrew Ferguson

With the full planning meeting of the North Yorkshire Dales Planning Authority due to consider the planning applications for four masts to serve West Witton and the surrounding area on March 10th there are now worries that restrictions on mast heights or even the rejection of one of the masts may scupper plans to improve broadband in the area.

The West Witton trial with Airwave is one of a number of pilot projects that are a mixture of public and private money set to run for a year initially to evaluate the problems, costs and benefits of various technologies. These pilot schemes will then be used to help the DCMS and Treasury decide how much public money to spend to resolve the issue of getting superfast broadband to the final 5%. The most important aspect for many is that BT is generally not involved. Perhaps a similar pilot scheme should have been what the original BDUK pilots were about, if the tight timescales wanted by politicians and campaigners had allowed.

While nothing has been confirmed and it won't be until the results of the planning meeting are known, if the Planning Authority insists on changes it may reduce the scope of the pilot in West Witton, i.e. create more not-spots where the wireless signal cannot reach or if its a key mast that is rejected it could scupper the project totally. We have contacted the Planning Authority, but don't expect anything until the 10th. Residents and businesses in the area can see nearby Leyburn and West Burton already enjoying superfast broadband speeds.


Posted by ian72 over 2 years ago
Planning permission problems is presumably one of the key things to test through this process. It is something that has a high chance of stopping projects happening so in some ways this sounds like a perfect pilot for testing this.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Has an indication been given about a specific problem here?

Reading the applications, it seems they went through planning meetings with the authority back in November, suggesting that they aren't working in the dark here.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Location of one or two masts and/or heights appear to be the issue. From what I've been told on one mast they suggested it should be lower than the surrounding trees so it was masked from sight.

Anyone who has dealt with planning knows you can tick all the boxes ahead of time, but only once the planning meeting has signed off can you breath a sigh of relief.

If meeting was more local I would attend.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
Contemplating doing just that...
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
Did someone seriously suggest a fixed wireless mast that was "lower than the surrounding trees"?

Even though that's a contradiction in terms (fixed wireless does not go through trees, whereas sub-1GHz mobile can).
Posted by biguser over 2 years ago
This pilot is costing £1.5million for 3000 houses so £5000 per house according to airwaves website. Dont think it is a viable UK roll out as BT have averaged less than £300 even taking into account this may be more rural than most.
Posted by biguser over 2 years ago
sorry 300 houses
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago

The plans for at least one of the 4 sites does indeed have a mast that is lower than the tree next to it. Probably another too, IIRC.

But then, the plan isn't a generic "get broadband everywhere" one, as perhaps mobile coverage would be. There is a plan of the village, which includes every household, and an indication of which of the masts could be used for a connection.

Once you realise that each mast doesn't need to have 360 degrees coverage, you can see how they can hide them in directions that service isn't needed.
Posted by kijoma over 2 years ago
the one time we needed planning permission for a "mast" they did the same thing, it needs to be lower than the trees. nearby mobile masts were higher, so the aerial didn't happen and 7 years down the line and the location is still a not spot. Of course the likes of BT don't run into these issues so much as they have code rights.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
There are two schemes being run in NY: one for 300 homes in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, and this one for 150 homes in the Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

The other scheme has, apparently, gained planning permission.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
You have to guess that the trial seems to want to test out the national parks' willingness.

The NYM scheme seems to have allowed power to be delegated to the planning director, in order to facilitate quick response; it seems to be based on the knowledge that the NP breathes by the economic success of its villagers.

The YD scheme has chosen for everything to go to the full committee, with a recommendation against two of the masts.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
An interesting argument about the mast at the back of the pub ... the one shorter than the tree next to it. One reason for recommending rejection is that it will look out of place from the road, despite the fact that a) there is a tree in the way, and b) when viewed from the road, it will appear smaller and less visually intrusive than the telegraph poles on the road.

Hey ho. There are no objections from the parish council, and the 7 letters from the public are all in support.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
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