Planners Pass New Telecom Tower For St Martin’s

The tower will be sited next to St Martin's Fire Station

The tower will be sited next to St Martin’s Fire Station

St Martin’s will be getting a new telecommunications tower in preparation for the launch of superfast broadband on the islands.

Planners approved the installation of the 6-metre high latticework structure at their meeting last Thursday.

A fixed, fibreoptic cable to the mainland arrived on St Mary’s last week and onward cables to Tresco and Bryher have been installed.

But St Martin’s and St Agnes will be connected to the fast internet service by wireless microwave links.

Senior Manager for Planning, Craig Dryden, admitted that the tower was “quite bulky” and taller than the surrounding buildings but said the “overwhelming benefits” of the new broadband service significantly outweighed any harm.

St Martin’s councillor, Christine Savill, said Craig was aware of her concerns, adding that the application “hasn’t been a good one, although she welcomed new drawings, presented at the meeting, which attempted to show the scale of the tower more accurately.

Chris said the location, next to the main road through St Martin’s, meant the structure would have a clear visual impact on the skyline.

But she agreed that it was necessary and said she wouldn’t vote against it.

Cllr Fran Grottick said “moving forward often seems to come at a price” and she asked councillors to be mindful of the islands’ designation as an AONB in future decisions.

“We lose that at our peril,” said Fran.

Craig confirmed that the transmitting the signal to St Agnes was different and a similar tower wouldn’t be needed there.