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Agenda item



Installation of a free standing internet/wifi/ telephone structure known as a 'link unit', with internally illuminated advertisement screens to two sides.

(Planning application number: P2017/1383/FUL)

The Chair informed the meeting that as Items B1-B11 were similar applications, matters common to all the applications would be considered under the first item.


In the discussion the following points were made:

·         Meeting was advised that of the 63 applications submitted for Advertisement Consent for the internet/wifi/telephones structures called ‘link units’ only 11 had been recommended for approval and 52 had been withdrawn on grounds of those site locations being within a conservation area or within the setting of a listed building or other important heritage asset.

·         Planning Officer informed Members that although the link unit structure itself would not require planning permission as outlined in Part 16 of Schedule 2 Class A.1(7) of the General Permitted Development Order (2016),the conditions set out a requirement for prior approval of the local authority to be obtained, specifically with respect of siting and appearance and which had not yet been determined.

·         The Planning Officer advised that applications for Advertisement Consent are   assessed in terms of amenity and highways safety and that having taken into consideration the setting of the internally illuminated advertisement screens, its relationship to surrounding properties, proposed luminance levels and distance from existing heritage assets and impact on highway safety, the proposal was considered acceptable.

·         Councillor Klute enquired whether the use of the revenue generated by the advertising to fund the provision and operation of the units was material consideration in determining the applications. The legal officer advised that this was not a material consideration.

·         Councillor Klute enquired whether the applicant’s proposal to allow the Local Authority to have the use of 5% of the advertising time given over to free advertising of Local Authority services and activities was a material consideration in determining the applications. The legal officer advised that this was not a material consideration.

·         The Planning Officer advised that concerns regarding the intensity of the illumination from the advertisement would be secured by a condition to vary the levels of lighting between dusk and dawn and during the day in line with TFL guidance. Also as the siting of the units would be some distance away from residential flats, it would not impact on residential amenity.

·         The Islington Society in their objections had raised concerns regarding the need for more telephone booths in the borough as a recent audit had revealed that telephone booths were in a bad state of disrepair and had been subjected to acts of vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The Society queried the functionality of these new telephone units as the applicant had not provided any evidence and that the booths would solely be used for advertisement only. The Society was concerned that granting an advertisement consent for these units would lead to an increase in street clutter and was unnecessary and of no communal benefit.

·         The Agent representing the applicant advised Committee that the proposal would provide a greater range of services to the public than the phone box it intends to replace. The Agent acknowledged that the advertisement would provide the initial cost of installation of the units and offering the services for free however the communal benefits would outweigh what is in place at the moment especially as most of the existing phone boxes are in a dilapidated state of disrepair.

·         In response to a question on the robustness of the unit, the agent of the applicant advised that tests had demonstrated that the units would withstand any antisocial behaviour or arson. The agent informed the Committee that over 750 of these units had been installed in New York  and some of these link units had recently been installed in the neighbouring borough of Camden.

·         Members considered that a site visit to Camden to view the units would be more informative than drawings and plans.

·         Planning Officers advised Members that a decision on a prior approval application was required within 56 days of the application being received or prior approval is otherwise secured by default. In order to achieve a decision within this timeframe, such a decision would be taken under authority to either the Service Director, Head of Development Management or the Deputy Head.

·         Members were concerned that prior approval should be determined before the advertisement is considered as the concerns related to procedural order being a crucial issue.

Councillor Khan proposed a motion to defer the item(s) pending:

1)    A site visit to view the units installed on Camden High Street; and

2)    For Officers to determine prior approval applications before the advertisement consent applications are presented back to the sub-committee.

This was seconded by Councillor Klute.




That consideration of the application be deferred in their entirety for the reasons outlined above.





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