Bid for one mobile phone mast near Newcastleton approved as plans for another are drawn up

James Hibbert-Hingston at Powisholm Farm.
James Hibbert-Hingston at Powisholm Farm.
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A bid to improve mobile phone coverage and access to emergency services in and around Newcastleton has been made to Scottish Borders Council.

An application has been submitted by Everything Everywhere UK for a telecommunications compound with 25m-high tower at Dogbank Hill, on land north west of Singdean.

The application is part of ongoing moves to improve phone coverage in more remote areas of the UK.

Before choosing the site, a number of other potential locations were ruled out as unsuitable by the company, including land at Coomb Edge, Fanna Hill, Dod Fell, Coopercleugh Knowe and Lamblair Hill.

A report presented to the council says: “National planning policy is to facilitate the growth of new and existing telecommunications systems, and operators have obligations to meet customer demands for improved quality of service.

“This application details the technical need for the installation to provide improved customer service.

“EE has identified that this is a site required to facilitate the roll-out of the 2G-3G-4G network within the local area.”

Members of the council’s planning building standards committee this week approved another mobile phone telecommunications mast on land near Newcastleton.

The council had received six objections to an application to build the 15m-high mast and associated equipment in a fenced compound on agricultural land to the west of Ovenshank Farm Cottage.

Objections centred on a lack of consultation over the plans, health and safety fears, and potential for a new access to the site being required if the proposed extension of the Borders Railway goes ahead.

Among the opponents was James Hibbert-Hingston, of nearby Powisholm Farm, who claimed no consideration had been given to future access to his property.

In a report to the committee, he said: “Although the applicant has made a track across his land up to the railway line and then to the proposed site, in the likely event of the reinstatement of the railway, that new access becomes obsolete and the only access returns to that across my land.”

Chief planning officer Julie Hayward responded by saying: “Policy states that development that could prejudice the delivery of the Borders Railway from Hawick to the English border will not be permitted.”