Plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous Banksy refused

plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous banksy refused - Plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous Banksy refused

Plans to install additional mobile phone masts to a building on Spike Island, which is home to a famous Banksy, has been turned down.

The drab-looking, two-storey Albion Dockside block in Hanover Place is a well-known local landmark as it is home to the guerilla artist’s ‘The Girl With The Pierced Eardrum’.

The building also has a clock tower and is designated as a “character building” in the City Conservation Docks Area.

This week a planning application by telecom giants EE and the 3 network, to increase the mobile phone antennae on the building from three to six and make them 5G ready, has been turned down.

plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous banksy refused 1 - Plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous Banksy refused

Girl with a Pierced Eardrum is painted on a building in Hanover Place (Image: Adam Gray/SWNS)

Bristol City Council’s development control committee rejected the proposals by  the narrowest of margins, six votes to five.

Members were split over officers’ recommendation to refuse the proposals on the grounds they would “unduly harm the character building and subsequently a designated heritage asset of the conservation area”.

More than 50 residents lodged objections on health grounds amid concerns about the risks of 5G, although councillors were satisfied these were unfounded following government guidance and reassurances from environmental health.

The 15-metre height of the masts would have been almost unchanged but a report to the committee said the plans to replace the existing trisector pole supporting three antennae with six masts on three new support poles would “significantly increase the amount of equipment” on the roof.

It said: “The upgrade to the existing telecommunication would result in harm to heritage assets that is not outweighed by public benefits.

“The proposed development would result in harmful visual clutter that would be visible from the public realm.

“The installation of three support poles on top of the plant roof room would detract from the distinctive clocktower feature.”

Bristol Civic Society objected citing concerns that the proposals would be “intrusive” and an “inappropriate intensification of masts and antennae”.

plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous banksy refused 2 - Plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous Banksy refused

The Albion Dockside building on Spike Island with its hidden Banksy (Image: Google Maps)

The council’s city design group also opposed the plans, saying: “The proposed antennas have apertures of increased massing that would dominate the clock tower and would introduce discordant architectural features that would undermine the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

A planning officer agreed and told members the new masts would “dwarf” the clocktower.

Committee member and Hotwells and Harbourside Cllr Mark Wright told the meeting on Wednesday (September 4): “You probably wouldn’t even notice the current mobile phone mast because it looks like a flagpole or a ship’s mast.

“Given this overlooks the marina, flagpoles and ships’ masts are a character of the area. The new proposal is clutter.”

plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous banksy refused 3 - Plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous Banksy refused

plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous banksy refused 3 - Plans for extra mobile phone masts on building home to famous Banksy refused

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Clifton Down councillor Clive Stevens added: “I respect conservation areas, and the way this structure is designed would detract from that heritage asset, so I cannot support it.”

But Horfield Cllr Olly Mead said: “There is a bit of clutter but would it be noticeable? I could be happy to let it go ahead.”

And St George Troopers Hill Cllr Fabian Breckels said: “If it meant losing the clock tower, that would be a problem. But I am struggling to work out what the actual harm is.

“It’s not exactly the most stunning part of the planet. It is a characterful building but I am thinking where on earth is the harm?

 

“I have seen far worse masts where people have put a concrete carbuncle on top of a building to hide a mast.”

Brislington East Cllr Tony Carey said: “I cannot see any problem with this.

“I wonder how many people have walked from the SS Great Britain area into this area, into the marina, and not noticed the clock tower at all.

“I do not think that’s a big issue. I would be quite happy for this development to go ahead.”

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