Judge: 'Irrational' Lewisham Council should not have allowed phone masts

Local Government Lawyer reports:

A London borough wrongly interpreted the General Permitted Development Order on the siting of radio masts, the High Court has said. Granting an application for judicial review brought by local resident Nigel Mawbey, Lang J said the London Borough of Lewisham had been wrong when it gave permission to Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure to erect the masts.

Mr Mawbey sought judicial review of Lewisham’s decision that the installation of mobile telephone apparatus on the roof of Forsythia House, which is owned by Lewisham Homes, was permitted development... He objected to the installation due to lack of consultation and that the masts were unsightly in a conservation area and posed a radiation health risk [BC's note: They're ugly, but they're no health risk]...

The judge said Lewisham and Cornerstone “have not been able to identify any reason why that balance of competing interests should not be given effect in building-based developments using pole mounts. “I have come to the conclusion that the claimant's interpretation, as supported by the Secretary of State, is correct. In summary, each central support pole comes within the definition of ‘electronic communications apparatus”.

Lewisham had reached an irrational decision by concluding that the support poles were not masts because they were not ground-based, and the scale and design of the support poles was not characteristic of a roof mast.