On 13th June, following a meeting of the Planning Committee of the Society I wrote to the Cabinet Member for Planning at RBKC to say that the Society considers that the streetscape is an important amenity of Chelsea, and that long views and attractive rooftops should be preserved and encouraged. Where possible rooftop installations of any kind, including air-conditioning units and solar panels, should be in sympathetic colours and disguised and/or sited away from the edge of the building so that they are not visible from street level nor, if possible, from nearby dwellings.
I said that the Society notes with approval the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 paras 42-46 para. 43 of which provides that “In preparing Local Plans, local planning authorities should support the expansion of electronic communications networks, including telecommunications and high speed broadband. They should aim to keep the numbers of radio and telecommunications masts and the sites for such installations to a minimum consistent with the efficient operation of the network. Existing masts, buildings and other structures should be used unless the need for a new site has been justified.
We believe that telecommunications equipment should be placed on tall buildings and/or be disguised where possible, and or located adjacent to a chimney. They should be grouped together to avoid a proliferation of sites serving different companies. We would be grateful if the Council would bear these points in mind when deciding, as owner or as Planning Authority, what it will allow at Chelsea Manor Court.”
The Cabinet Member replied “I agree with you. I have forwarded your letter to our planners and if this goes to committee (I think it will if there are objections) they will consider all these matters.
The proposal for Chelsea Manor Court comes from the tenants’ own company the TMO and it is the Council as freeholder that needs to give consent – and then planning consent as a separate issue needs to be sought. The TMO are seeking revenue to help their dwindling income now the government has capped rent rises to a very low level. This cap was of course instigated to control the cost of housing benefit, as one follows the other. The TMO wants to be able to maintain their housing stock, as do the tenants.”
Planning Committee Chairman