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Telecoms tower plans in heart of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park refused

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Pic: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park)

PLANS for an “alien and incongruous” 20 metre telecoms tower within “one of the most splendid landscapes in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park” have been turned down by planners.

Applicants Cornerstone – in a Prior Notification application to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – sought to install a 20-metre-high, timber-clad telecoms tower on land opposite the National Trust car park at Trehilyn West, Trefasser, near Goodwick, north Pembrokeshire.

The site is within the Pen Caer Registered Historic Landscape, located between the two Iron Age hill forts of Garn Fawr Camp and Garn Fechan Camp, both Scheduled Monuments, with two Grade II-listed buildings located within 200 metres of the site.

The tower would also be within view of what is known as John Piper’s cottages, where the influential 20th century artist, author and stained-glass designer stayed to paint the surrounding landscape.

In 2013 one of his paintings of Garn Fawr sold at auctioneers Christie’s for in excess of £37,000.

A heritage statement on behalf of the applicants said the tower’s impact on the overall significance of the Registered Historic Landscape would be ‘slight’ and ‘minor,’ with no objection raised by Cadw.

However, the national park’s building conservation officer Rob Scourfield recommended the application for refusal stating: “The mast will have a significant impact on the setting of a number of listed buildings, chiefly Garn-fawr and Studio Cottage both of which sit within one of the most splendid landscapes of the National Park.”

A report for park planners highlighted a lack of engagement over the proposal: “A significant number of objections have been received to the proposed siting and design of the mast, and whilst not relevant to the decision-making process, to the lack of engagement with the community council and local residents.

“The applicants would be recommended to engage in a more meaningful way with local residents and community council to discuss potential alternative sitings for the provision of this mast.”

It added: “The proposed base station, monopole and antenna would occupy an elevated position close to both Garn Fawr and Garn Fechan.

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“The remote landscape would mean that the structures would be clearly visible and would have an adverse impact upon the special qualities of the national park, nearby listed buildings and ancient monuments by introducing an alien and incongruous feature into the landscape.

“The addition of timber cladding may contribute to the harm in providing a structure which looks neither like a utilitarian piece of infrastructure, nor which there is any detail provided for how the timber cladding would be added, what timber would be used, whether it would be treated, and how it would be maintained.

“This has the potential to exacerbate the negative impact of the mast in this location.”

The scheme was refused on the grounds “it will appear as a prominent and discordant landscape feature within the PenCaer Landscape Character Area and is thus contrary [to policies].”


One of those raising concerns about the scheme before the application was refused was Llandruidion resident Jill Rowley, who said: “This mast will be visible for miles and is considered to be to the detriment of this iconic area.

“It is within a stone’s throw of the Piper Cottages the famous artist who painted the area.

“There has been no consultation with the local community council, there has been no notice posted in the area, which I understand is a legal requirement for all planning projects.

“No-one locally seems to have heard about it. This is a travesty for this iconic landmark.”