49ft telecoms tower agreed for island

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Proposals for a 49ft communications tower to bring 4G and eventually 5G mobile services to a remote corner of the Isle of Jura have been given the go-ahead.

The plans were submitted to Argyll and Bute Council by WHP Telecoms Ltd based in Warrington, on behalf of the Scottish Government, and the Scottish Futures Trust which aims to improve public sector infrastructure.

The mast accommodating new technology will benefit the emergency services and is planned for a site north west of Ardlussa House at Ardlussa at the north end of Jura.

It is a ‘not spot’ area with no mobile service coverage, according to documents submitted by the applicants. They added that the location is ‘well away from the nearest houses and would have no impact on views or the visual amenity’.

The site is also home to an existing ‘Airwaves’ mast for the emergency services which are being phased out. Planning officers gave approval to the plans which did not attract any objections or complaints from members of the public.

A council planning officer said: ‘The choices of sites for this important infrastructure project are limited and although the upper part of the tower may be visible in the skyline from some aspects in the panorama it is deemed acceptable.

‘The design is an accepted standard and layout. The siting and appearance of the proposed apparatus and associated structures should seek to minimise impact on the visual amenity, character or appearance of the surrounding area.

The officer said the benefits of the proposal ‘socially, economically and for safety’ had been tested against policy.

‘Any disbenefit of skyline intrusion or mild interruption of the landscape by the track are not felt to outweigh general compliance with policy,’ the officer said.

‘This infrastructure increase will help address the identified issue of retaining and increasing the active population in this remote rural area in line with the council’s strategic vision of this outward looking, adaptable island while retaining its outstanding natural and historic environment.’