Phone company seeks to overturn Tooting Common telecom mast refusal

Published: Friday 9th December 16

The council will resist a mobile phone company’s plans to erect a large telecom mast next to Tooting Common at an appeal being heard in the New Year.

In July the council refused planning permission for an 18m high Vodafone mast to be sited on the railway embankment next to Cavendish Road and overlooking Tooting Common.

Members of Wandsworth‘s planning committee concluded that the mast, which would have been erected behind a two metre high fence, would result in “unacceptable harm to the character and appearance” of the common.

The height of the mast was described as “excessive” and “overly prominent” while the design was summarised as “perfunctory”.

The telecom company is now seeking to overturn this decision and has lodged a planning appeal with the secretary of state. This will be held early in the new year in front of a Government–appointed planning inspector.

Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “Back in July, locally elected councillors judged that this mobile phone mast was just too big and too overbearing for this sensitive location.

“In our minds there was absolutely no doubt that it would cause unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the common so we refused it planning consent.

“The phone company is now seeking to overturn that decision on appeal. We will of course be arguing very strongly that our decision was correct and that this large telecom mast is too overbearing and far too prominent to be allowed next to the common.

“Local people who share that view can of course also make their own representations to the appeal. If they feel strongly about this issue then I would urge them to write or email the inspector.

People can submit their views to the planning inspectorate by quoting ref no APP/H5960/W/16/3163832.

Emails should be sent to and letters to Michael Joyce, The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/N, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN. People who send in written representations by post should submit three copies of their correspondence.

All representations should reach the inspectorate by January 9, 2017. For more information about the application and its background visit and key in ref no 2016/2502.

  • The council has also launched an urgent investigation into BT’s decision to begin laying cables across the common to the site of the proposed phone mast. The council had not given BT or its contractors any permission to do this and is now seeking urgent clarification and explanation from the company over its actions.

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Recent comments

Phone masts are not only very ugly and not really good to see anywhere. Nevertheless, it would be sensible to avoid their looming over parks and other spaces where people go for peace and enjoyment of nature. Also there is some evidence that living or working them is a health risk.
sheila freeman

10 January 2017

We don't want a telephone mast on Tooting Common . It is far too tall and will spoil the environment.
Marion Jones

8 January 2017

Phone signal is embarrassingly bad in Streatham, I would like to see the phone mast built.
Sarah Kerry

16 December 2016

The people don't want it. The council doesn't want it. Who on earth do BT think they are? They have now laid cables out ready for installation on a mast that hasn't even been approved?! The mind boggles. It is indicative of society around as as the moment, these money making corporations don't give a damn what anyone else thinks, they just do as they please.
Scott Lawrence

16 December 2016

I support the Councils decision in objecting to this excessive structure, its appearance alone upon the publics common land would be an eyesore, if allowed, it would soon be followed with additional networks also wanting to install there masts.
John J

10 December 2016