Bigger Tacolneston mast set for approval

Proposals to install a much larger broadcast transmitter mast in rural south Norfolk have been tipped for approval by planners.National Grid Wireless has applied for planning permission to replace the current 165m high mast at Tacolneston with one measuring 206m in height as part of the move to give the nation digital television.

Proposals to install a much larger broadcast transmitter mast in rural south Norfolk have been tipped for approval by planners.

National Grid Wireless has applied for planning permission to replace the current 165m high mast at Tacolneston with one measuring 206m in height as part of the move to give the nation digital television.

A report to South Norfolk planners says the current mast at Highpark Farm serves an estimated 1.25m people and was originally commissioned by the BBC in 1956.

As a requirement of the Government-led digital switchover project, permission is being sought to replace the mast with a new transmitter, a new equipment building to house the additional digital television equipment and associated works.


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The report to planners states that in order to facilitate the continuation of existing broadcast services from the site “through what is a very lengthy and complicated engineering process,” it is proposed that the new mast will be built alongside the existing one and for a temporary period, of up to three years, there will be two masts on the site.

South Norfolk Council has received six letters of objection to the proposal from local people. Residents have asked for reassurance that the mast does not pose a health risk for those living nearby, and have said the new mast will affect the setting of the Grade 2* listed Tacolneston Hall. Other concerns raised are that the increase in height of the mast will make the visual impact of the site worse and that insufficient consideration has been given to the existing ecology of the site, particularly regarding the possible presence of bats.

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The council has also received two letters of support from residents who say that if you use television you can't really object.

Norwich International Airport and the Civil Aviation Authority have not raised any objection to the plans.

The Anglia region is scheduled for the digital switchover in 2011. The government, in a letter to all UK planning authorities, sets out the main public benefits from the project which include the provision of a fairer service with much improved quality and a greater range of channels, a more efficient form of TV transmission that uses less resources and a high quality broadcast platform which will help bring about considerable benefits to the UK economy through the culture and media industries.

The report to planners recommends that the proposal should be approved and states: “It has been adequately demonstrated that the proposed development would not have a significant detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area or the amenities of local residents. Subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions, the proposal would not significantly harm the ecology of the site. Furthermore, the proposal would not have a significant detrimental impact on the safe and free flow of traffic in the local area.”

The application is due to be considered at a meeting of South Norfolk Council's south-west area planning committee on Tuesday.

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