Identifying potential telecommunications mast sites and securing planning consents
A significant part of our work involves supporting telecommunications clients in securing legal and planning consents for new telecommunications infrastructure. Here’s a brief overview of the work – we hope you find it interesting.
The process begins with a client instruction to identify potential buildings or lands upon which to situate a telecommunications installation. The driver of course is existing poor coverage and the desire to improve that, or it may be that the existing structure is too low or has been blocked by nearby high-rise building development.
We consider this a planning led rather than acquisition led process as having an acquirable site without planning prospects leads only to wasted time and resource. We focus first on the planning merits of various locations and structure types and once we have a good idea that the structure type will succeed at planning only then will we seek to enter into commercial agreements with building owners or landowners.
We start the planning assessment by reviewing local area development plans, reviewing Google maps and Google earth. We always look to site new infrastructure in areas with the least visual impact and this typically lends itself to better planning outcomes.
In an urban setting we’ll look for high buildings or existing infrastructure. In a rural setting we’re looking for sites within afforested areas or with the benefit of good natural tree or hedgerow screening. Bonuses include short electricity runs, existing accesses to site and proximity to fibre.
We’re always looking to situate sites in areas consistent with planning policies and objectives set out in the local Development Plan and with national planning guidelines.
Once we have qualified sites from a desktop planning perspective, we then seek to identify landowners supportive of telecommunications infrastructure and aim to work through telecoms specific commercial heads of terms. Once agreed the client instructs its legal representatives to draft the lease or licence agreement and we support our clients’ solicitors in concluding that agreement.
From here we apply for and secure planning consent for the telecommunications structure and hand the file over to the build contractor for build-out. More often both planning and legal processes are developed in tandem and invariably we work closely with radio, transmission and civils contractors throughout.
Seeing these sites developed nationwide is a source of pride to us. We’re all about supporting telecoms and broadcast clients roll out nationwide infrastructure. We see it not only as paid work but we see and appreciate the social dividend in this work.
Our office has extensive experience in both telecoms site acquisition and in the planning process. We have delivered hundreds of sites through both acquisition and planning processes. If you require assistance in the field of telecoms planning and acquisition do reach out to us by telephone or via any of our social media channels.