Help Broadway & many other areas fight unnecessary pole installation.

by LIFFORD GARDENS AND THE SANDS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION LTD

Help Broadway & many other areas fight unnecessary pole installation.

by LIFFORD GARDENS AND THE SANDS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION LTD
LIFFORD GARDENS AND THE SANDS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION LTD
Case Owner
We are a group of residents trying to protect our environment. We obtained permission for judicial review and are trying to raise funding for the final hearing this year.
27
days to go
£6,015
pledged of £10,000 stretch target from 58 pledges
Pledge now
LIFFORD GARDENS AND THE SANDS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION LTD
Case Owner
We are a group of residents trying to protect our environment. We obtained permission for judicial review and are trying to raise funding for the final hearing this year.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

We are a Residents Association located in Broadway in the Cotswolds who have been granted permission for Judicial Review against Wychavon District Council's decision to allow the installation of numerous 11 metre telegraph poles and overhead wires to deliver broadband within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This area already had existing newly installed underground Ultrafast fibre cabling in-situ and no existing overhead infrastructure or street furniture. This new underground ducting is 96mm and is capable of being shared by several cabling providers.

We are trying to raise in the region of £20,000 to fund our legal costs for our final substantive hearing later this year. Permission was granted for the Judicial Review on 7th May 2024 in Birmingham Planning High Court.

         

When the cable provider first indicated that they intended to pole in Broadway, the residents, the Parish Council and the AONB Planning Officer all registered their objections to Wychavon D.C. We were all ignored as the council chose to do absolutely nothing to prevent the telegraph poles from being erected. As recently as March 2024, Julia Lopez M.P. Minister of State for Data and Digital Infrastructure stated "even where Permitted Development Rights exist, this doesn't mean the council has no say in the matter".

Residents were extremely concerned that Wychavon District Council had appointed a person who was not in planning to oversee the planning directorship dealing with the proposed installation of poles and broadband in our community, when this individual had a pre-existing relationship with the personnel of the telecoms operator (Full Fibre Ltd).

Following a freedom of information request, emails obtained between the two created a perception of bias in the minds of residents that the person appointed by the Council was in favour of the roll out of poles and overhead infrastructure. This potential for bias was recognised by the Honourable Justice Eyre when he stated:

"The tone of Mr Edward’s [of WDC] emails to the representatives of the Interested Party [Full Fibre Ltd] is suggestive that he regarded the exercise a joint venture in which the Defendant [WDC] and the Interested Party [Full Fibre Ltd] were engaged together in overcoming resistance to the installation of cables."

Your support will help us in our quest to make sure local planning authorities protect Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,  Conservation Areas, National Parks and Heritage sites from being blighted by unnecessary overhead wires and unsightly poles which spoil the existing visual amenity.

These areas had been protected from having their "special" visual amenity spoilt, as planning legislation previously required operators to apply for prior approval or planning permission that subsequently could require them to cable underground. This protection was removed in one stroke when the government, in their rush to roll out faster broadband to rural areas, gave the providers "Permitted Development Rights" to pole wherever they wanted without having to obtain any planning permission or prior approval. However, AONBs and Conservation Areas had a level of protection introduced in 2022 to The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (GPDO) which required the operator to demonstrate that it had reduced loss of visual amenity as far as practicable and if this condition is not fulfilled it is not considered Permitted Development.

             

In Broadway, poles are located directly outside of residents windows and on bends and junctions.   

       

The question is how has visual amenity been minimised as far as practicable when poles are located prominently outside windows and on bends and junctions and it was practicable for the infrastructure to be laid underground?  Local Authorities can also use an Article 4 direction which gives them the power to remove the Permitted Development Rights and force the Communications Providers to apply for Planning Permission in areas where there is already the infrastructure available to prevent proliferation.  It would appear that Wychavon D.C. and other councils in England have chosen to do nothing to protect these sites.

The grounds of our judicial review centre around whether the District Council were obliged to take into consideration the viability of the operator locating the cabling underground in order that loss of visual amenity be minimised as far as possible and whether it was right to prioritise the cost to the operator of undergrounding over the objections of the Cotswold National Landscape Board (CNLB, formerly AONB), Parish Council and petition of hundreds of residents.

If we are successful it could set a legal precedent to make local authorities consider undergrounding infrastructure as part of the GPDO conditions, before poles are erected.

Poles could be installed outside of your home and windows or in a village near you at any time even if you already have the infrastructure underground to supply Ultrafast broadband. Please help us to prevent this. 

We will be grateful for every penny and thank you in anticipation of your support.

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