Planning Committee in Action!

We thought you would like to see and understand some of the things that councillors do on behalf, of residents. This story relates to work of the Town Council’s Planning Committee.

Recently it received a planning application (P21/V0412/FUL) for a 5G mast to be installed at the Fire Station in Wantage. It had a self-certified certificate from the applicant to say it was safe and would not cause harm to the local residents. The documentation to back this certificate was not included in the documentation submitted, although previously they had applied for permitted development (which was rejected) with more information. The Town Council objected to the application on the grounds that not all the information was there to make an assessment due to concerns about the non-ionising radiation. This objection was overruled by the Planning Officer on the grounds essentially that if a self-certified certificate had been submitted and this had to be accepted.

The Committee was suspicious and Councillor Johnson, the Committee chairman, followed up on this with assistance from County and District Councillors. After contacting various agencies including the Planning Office, Environmental Health, The Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England, and OFCOM he obtained the further documentation. On reading through all the documentation and the applicants submitted documents it was clear that the ICNIRP limits for exposure were going to be exceeded in some homes adjacent to the Fire Station. This would mean potentially people being put at risk of harm from the mast.

With help from the Fire Service and the County Councillors, the landowner (Oxfordshire County Council) has agreed to not allow the mast to be installed until the mobile phone company has carried out suitable work to confirm the mast can be installed without detriment to local residents’ health.

It would be all too easy for Councillors to have accepted the Certificate of Compliance. Following up on this has taken a great deal of patience, explanation of the issue to various agencies and Councillor Johnson’s time. The Town Council will continue to use its efforts to ensure that planning applications do not put our local residents at risk.