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Wednesday 24 March 2010

Presented Petitions

Petition presented to the House on Tuesday 23 March 2010 but not read on the Floor

Business Rates

The Petition of persons concerned by the increase in business rates,

Declares that with small businesses and entrepreneurs already struggling to survive in the current economic climate, a rise in business rates will have a severe impact. Notes that business rates set for April 2010 have been subject to a revaluation process based upon inflated rental values in 2008 and further notes that Northern Ireland has deferred business rate changes this year.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons calls upon the Government to stop these damaging business rate increases.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. -[Presented by Mr. David Burrowes .]



Communities and Local Government

Mobile Telephone Mast (West Midlands)

The Petition of the constituents of Amblecote, Stourbridge and others,

Declares that they object to the proposed erection of an O2 mobile phone mast at Hillfields Road, Brierley Hill, Stourbridge, Dudley, West Midlands because of the possible negative environmental impact this could have on the area; the distraction the proposed mast would be to motorists who pass it; the uncertain health risks of locating a communications mast near homes, schools and play areas; the lack of consideration given to sharing communications masts with other telecoms providers; and the apparent lack of consideration by O2 as to the concerns of local people of the dangers of placing a mast near a school.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to do all in his power to object to the proposed mast as detailed in this petition.

24 Mar 2010 : Column 10P

And the Petitioners remain, etc. -[Presented by Lynda Waltho , Official Report, 17 March 2010; Vol. 507, c. 927.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

All telecommunications development falls within the scope of the development control system. Some minor development does not require a planning application because it has planning permission granted under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GPDO). But certain permitted development, including masts up to 15 metres high, requires a developer to submit a prior approval application to the local planning authority. Such an application allows an authority to consider the siting and appearance of the proposed development.

Under Town and Country Planning legislation, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council is responsible for determining applications for telecommunications development, including those for prior approval, within its area. The council is required to have regard to the local development plan, and any other material planning considerations, and to take account of views expressed by third parties. Guidance on the handling of planning and prior approval applications including the relevant issues that should be considered is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 (PPG8): Telecommunications.

The Secretary of State cannot object to or comment on an application being considered by Dudley council nor on any views expressed about the application, because that would interfere with the jurisdiction of the council, and would prejudice his own position should he have to formally determine any appeal against a refusal of permission.

The Secretary of State is aware that an application was submitted in January 2010 to Dudley council for a 12.5 metre high mobile phone mast at Hillfields Road in Brierley Hill. The application was for prior approval under the GPDO to the siting and design of the mast. It attracted nearly 200 objections.

The Secretary of State understands that the council refused consent for the mast on 2 March 2010 because it would have an adverse impact on the visual amenity and character of the area and in particular an adjacent area of public open space. The applicant has the right of appeal to the Secretary of State against the decision under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 within six months of the date of the decision notice. At this stage the Secretary of State is not aware that any appeal has been submitted.

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