Friends of Hartley Countryside

17 July 2002

Dear Sir,

Telecommunications mast, Downs Valley, Hartley. Reference SE/02/01401/FUL

The Friends of Hartley Countryside are a local environmental group, and we are writing to express our dismay at this proposal which would severely affect the amenity value of this green space.

It is important too, to realise how close this site is to residential property. This is not a copse in the middle of farmland, but is close to many houses from which it will be visible. There are some 100 properties within 250m of the site, including a retirement home and school.

We would like to object on the following grounds:

Local Plan

Green Belt


This application falls foul of many of the environmental considerations in the District Plan. The lattice type of construction is very visually obtrusive (a point acknowledged in your report to committee on SE/02/0295, paragraph 3.15) and the large compound exceeding 1,500 square feet will together have a devastating effect on the amenity woodland and the large surrounding area. In particular:

Other material considerations (Section 55A, Town and Country Planning Act 1990)


The mast is very close to the Old Downs retirement home, the retirement housing of Sandshaw Court and Steephill School. You will be aware that the government wrote to your chief executive on 29 June 2000 (letter from Nick Raynsford of DETR), stressing that councils should adopt the precautionary principle and that masts should not be too close to schools and retirement homes (see "Poles Apart" Solicitor's Journal 3 Aug 2001, p 722). There are signs at an existing mast in Fawkham to warn of possible effects on heart pacemakers.

There is widespread local concern about the unproven effects to health from this base station, which can be a material consideration (PPG 8, paragraph 29 and recent judgement in Court of Appeal by Lord Justice Shiemann). It is well known that the Stewart Report did not deal with all the potential risks to health, for example biological effects.

Human Rights

Given that the case for the mast is very flimsy, has the council considered the effect of article 8 and First Protocol article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights? The effect of the incorporation of the Human Rights Convention means that local authorities can no longer claim that affect on property values and local businesses is not a material consideration.

We trust that our views will be taken into consideration when taking your decision and we look forward to hearing from you.