In November 2019, Shorne Parish Council received a formal proposal from Galliford Try, on behalf of Cornerstone and Telefonica (O2), to install a 25 metre high lattice tower base station in an 8 metre x 8 metre compound on Shorne Common, off Mill Hill Lane.
They have asked our views prior to their formal planning application to Gravesham Borough Council. You can view their plans in the section to the right, or by scrolling down the page.
This proposal was neither initiated nor is it welcome by Shorne Parish Council. It is on parish-owned land which was gifted to the parish council by the Earl of Darnley in 1908 for the purpose of providing “a Recreation Ground intended for the use of the inhabitants of the Parish”.
Shorne Parish Council has diligently held and maintained the land in trust for this specific purpose, and we consider that it is neither within our desire nor within our power to willingly permit the land to be used for any purpose other than that for which it was entrusted to us. We have therefore informed Galliford Try that we do not agree with their proposal.
We recognise the need to improve mobile network coverage in Shorne, and have expressed our willingness to work with responsible infrastructure providers to find a solution that achieves this objective whilst minimising the adverse impact on the local environment, and we are confident that the majority of Shorne residents would support this approach. However, we consider that a proposal for a 25 metre high lattice tower and an 8 metre square compound located within a locally-valued amenity is both insensitive and inappropriate, irrespective of ownership of the location.
We are aware that under recent changes to The Communications Act 2003, infrastructure operators can apply to the courts to compulsorily impose an agreement on the landowner to permit the infrastructure company to acquire the land for their equipment. Should they decide to go down this route, we have informed Galliford Try that the Parish Council is minded to oppose any such application through the courts.
We have also informed Galliford Try that should they submit a planning application to install the equipment as proposed, the Parish Council is minded to object to the application on valid material planning grounds.
Should they still intend to pursue this proposal despite our opposition, we have urged them to hold a public consultation meeting to outline their proposals, and to allow local residents to ask questions and express their concerns, before they submit a formal planning application. Shorne Parish Council has offered to facilitate and publicise such a meeting on their behalf. However Galliford Try has informed us that their client does not intend to hold a public consultation meeting.
Shorne Parish Council is taking legal advice, and we will keep residents informed of developments.