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Concerns arise over Preseli Data Mast installation impact

The proposal to erect a 167ft (50.9m) communications mast within a national park has raised concerns that it may establish a precedent for similar actions in other scenic locations across the UK.

Last October, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority rejected an application for this mast, citing concerns related to its impact on the park’s visual appeal. However, the applicant is now appealing this decision.

Waldon Telecom and Wholesailor, the agents and end users involved, have been requested to provide their comments on the matter. Opponents of the plan caution that if the planning appeal is approved, it could jeopardize the sanctity of all national parks in the United Kingdom, paving the way for future development within these cherished areas.

A recently formed organization known as “Custodians and Friends of the Preseli” is actively opposing the proposed mast installation.

Local artist and member of this group, Jess Wallace, expressed her concerns about the potential consequences of overturning the decision, fearing it could establish an unsettling precedent. She also emphasised that the structure, if approved, would significantly mar the natural beauty of Pembrokeshire’s national park, describing it as a potential act of desecration.

Ms. Wallace clarified that the intended purpose of the structure is to serve as a data communications tower, distinguishing it from a traditional phone mast. She pointed out that there have been no clear assurances from the proposed developer regarding any tangible community benefits that might arise from this project.

Within an extensive application to PEDW, Waldon Telecom said: “planning permission should have been granted based on the fact that the public benefits that would be brought by the proposal would outweigh the impact of the development”.

The application pertains to a mast designed to accommodate nine transmission dishes and six mobile phone antennas, intended for transmitting financial data between the UK and Ireland. However, Waldon Telecom, acting on behalf of the applicants, Britannia Towers II Ltd, has asserted that the mast could also offer “improved connectivity to the surrounding area” should mobile operators opt to utilize it.

The summit of the galvanized steel lattice tower would soar to an elevation of 1,410 feet (430 meters) above sea level, situated on a hill overlooking Rosebush. The agents proposed the idea of painting the lower portion of the mast in a “fir green” hue, matching the height of the surrounding trees, in an effort to harmonise it with the area’s aesthetic.

The planning appeal will undergo evaluation by a planning inspector affiliated with Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW). Members of the public are encouraged to submit their comments by Wednesday, September 27th, with the deadline set at midnight.

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