Northern Ireland Planning Service

Jerrettspass Telecommunications Tower

Published on Thu, 24 Mar 2005
DOE Planning Service announced today that it has served a Discontinuance Notice requiring the removal of telecommunications equipment at Jerrettspass, Newry, and the restoration of the land to its original state.
It is expected that the tower will cease to be operational when alternative arrangements planned for the Tinker Hill area are in place.
A Planning Service spokesperson said: “We are pleased that agreement has been reached with the tower owner, Crown Castle (UK) Limited, in what has been a very protracted case. The length of time taken to reach this point reflects the complexity of the issues that needed to be resolved, including the removal of the original valid permission. Crown Castle UK has co-operated fully with the Planning Service at all times throughout the process and has worked hard with the Agency to identify constructive solutions. There has also been a series of exchanges and discussions with the landowner’s representative, the local Council, public representatives and the local residents.”
The existing tower was erected lawfully, but the developer undertook to remove it following an administrative error when it was approved. The administrative error and the subsequent handling of the case did not affect the legal validity of the approval and in themselves would not have been grounds for rescinding it.
The spokesperson emphasised that the agreement on removing the tower had been reached in the overall public interest and was based solely on siting, location and amenity issues that are specific to the case. It was strictly ‘without prejudice’ and without any acceptance of liability by either side. Both parties have also agreed that it does not in any way set a precedent in relation to other telecommunications developments.
The spokesperson added: “In spite of the large costs involved and lack of blame on their part, Crown Castle UK, as a gesture of goodwill, gave an undertaking to relocate the existing installation at Jerrettspass. Both the Planning Service and Crown Castle UK are satisfied with the outcome and would wish to emphasise that the financial settlement accepted by the developer is considerably less than the significant legal entitlement to financial compensation which would normally be expected following a discontinuance notice”.

Notes to Editors

  1. Planning approval was granted in 2000 for a telecommunications tower at Jerrettspass, Newry. No objections were received as the wrong address was advertised. The proposal was, however, properly considered and the approval that subsequently issued was valid.
  2. A further application was received and advertised using the correct address. A number of objections were received which raised valid planning concerns and following consideration, was refused in February 2001, on the grounds of siting, location and amenity.
  3. The developer decided to implement the original valid approval.
  4. In response to requests from elected representatives, Councillors, Newry and Mourne Council and local residents, the Planning Service agreed to explore options for discontinuing the use of the tower.
  5. Discussions and meetings have been ongoing between the Planning Service and the Developers (Crown Castle UK Limited), as well as the local residents and elected representatives, to discuss the options available.
  6. Key issues included the alternative coverage arrangements, the discontinuance of the valid approval, making good the land and the matter of compensation.
  7. Crown Castle voluntarily agreed to work to secure alternative coverage arrangements.
  8. The Planning Service has also been working closely with Newry and Mourne Council, elected public representatives and local residents, to secure this very satisfactory outcome.
  9. Following further discussions with the developer, agreement was reached to discontinue the use of the existing tower and extinguish the planning approval. Agreement was also reached on the financial settlement to be accepted by Crown Castle.
  10. A Discontinuance Notice can be appealed by any interested party.
  11. This decision is without prejudice and does not set a precedent in relation to telecommunication towers.
  12. Concerns raised by the residents about health issues were not a factor in reaching this decision.
  13. Likely timescale for relocation of the tower and ceasing use at Jerrettspass is 9 to12 months, subject to any appeal.

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