DPA gives relocation of TV mast go-ahead

A TV mast will be erected in a car park at Mount Durand after the Development & Planning Authority gave developers the go-ahead at an open planning meeting.

The TV mast will be moved to a Mount Durand car park. (29108418)
The TV mast will be moved to a Mount Durand car park. (29108418)

The mast will replace one currently at Hauteville when the lease of the land it is on expires and will provide digital terrestrial television to an area of St Peter Port that is not covered by signals from the main transmitter at Les Touillets, Castel.

While the new mast will cover more than 2,000 homes it emerged during the hearing that about 125 homes are likely to suffer either a poor or lost signal after it is moved.

Planners had approved the idea but there were 46 letters and emails of objection.

The main objections raised at the meeting were that the proposed mast would be detrimental to nearby properties despite there being trees nearby and that not enough consultation had taken place about the move.

James Le Gallez spoke on behalf of residents Mr and Mrs Ferguson and said that Environment Guernsey had not been consulted about relocating the mast within a conservation area.

They were concerned about a precedent being set that could lead to proliferation of masts in future and that this mast could be increased in height later.

Mr Le Gallez said this application should be part of a wider infrastructure strategy and Environment & Infrastructure should also have been consulted.

At 18 metres in height the new mast will be 10m shorter than the one it replaces, but it would nonetheless impact on the family of Roger Goodlass, who lived in a house near the site with young children, he told the panel.

While it had been said that 10 trees near the site would help mask it, seven of them were deciduous so would not have leaves all year round to act as a screen.

David Chilton wondered if enough questions had been asked about negotiations with the owners of the site of the current mast. Perhaps they could be persuaded to keep it, he said.

Arqiva Ltd, the company behind the mast plans, is responsible for all DTV masts in the island. It said that 30 sites had been considered for the relocation but in terms of the balance between coverage and conservation, the chosen site was best.

It had to abide by the will of the landowners, and, although negotiations had managed to extend the lease to the end of 2021, there was no question that the mast had to be removed by the end of the year.

Concerns raised by members of the DPA, all of whom were present, included the strategic importance of the mast to the population. Deputy Andrew Taylor said that there was no hard evidence of the number of people who would be covered by it, and Arqiva’s representatives – appearing via video link – said that they had based their figure on a computer model which they had used many times before.

Deputy Taylor was sceptical that the application fell under the Island Development Plan policy relating to developments of strategic importance.

Deputy Chris Le Tissier wondered if it would be possible for a repeater transmitter to be installed to provide signals to those houses which could lose out when the new mast comes on stream, and Arqiva’s David Peters said this was technically feasible but there were issues with digital interference from France and negotiations would be necessary.

When it came to the vote, three of the five DPA members present – president Deputy Victoria Oliver and deputies Greg Dyke and Sasha Kazantseva-Miller – approved the application, with Deputies Le Tissier and Taylor voting against.

The panel also ruled that any future applications for additional antennae on the mast must be put before the board, and introduced a condition that the top section of the mast must be painted a colour other than white.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News