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BT seek planning for new Broadband Cabinet

posted 18 Oct 2013, 05:57 by Ian Perry   [ updated 18 Oct 2013, 06:23 ]
BT are seeking prior approval for the installation of an Openreach Broadband Cabinet on the footway at Trehill, in front of the thatched Trehill Cottage.  The Vale of Glamorgan Planning Reference is 2013/00958/PNT.

The cabinets positioning in the footway will leave slightly more footway width than the councils minimum of 1.2 metres, however, this is less than the 2m recommendation by the DfT's Manual for Streets and Inclusive Mobility Guidance

Published 15 December, 2005 the DfT's Inclusive Mobility Guidance says:

3.1 Widths
A clear width of 2000mm allows two wheelchairs to pass one another comfortably. This should be regarded as the minimum under normal circumstances. Where this is not possible because of physical constraints 1500mm could be regarded as the minimum acceptable under most circumstances, giving sufficient space for a wheelchair user and a walker to pass one another. 

Clearly, reducing footway widths to site a cabinet is not a physical constraint on pavement width(?)

The DfT's Manual For Streets says the following on footway widths:

6.3.22 There is no maximum width for footways. In lightly used streets (such as those with a purely residential function), the minimum unobstructed width for pedestrians should generally be 2 m.

The existing footway is no more than 2m wide, just reaching the minimum at this point in the village.

BT explain their choice of location and design in their planning application, saying:

The site has been chosen so that it presents the least visually obtrusive location as far as is practicable. Every effort has been made to locate the cabinet so as not to impact upon the surrounding environment. 

Consideration has been given to sight lines entering and exiting side roads, driveways and junctions. Consideration has been given to the width of the pavement and to provide ease of access for pedestrians. A minimum of 1 .2m Is allowed but wherever possible the greatest amount of available space is chosen. Where this may impact upon underground cabling, gas mains, additional telecommunications ducting and cabling or footings of adjacent buildings, every effort has been made to ensure that the location of the cabinet does not impact upon the use of the highway. 

 The proposed development is for a 1.6m high green telecommunications cabinet (DSLAM). The cabmet provides a conversion from fibre optic cable to copper cable and then feeds the signal into the wider telephone network through the existing green Openreach cabinets (PCP). The new cabinet (DSLAM) has to be located dose to the existing green Openreach cabinet (PCP) in order to reduce the amount of copper cabling within the system. The advantage of this Super Fast Broadband service is that It provides as much fibre optic cabling within the system to attain the speeds required. 

Being a single telecommunications cabinet there is no public access to the application site. The installation has been designed and installed so as not to impact upon the use of the footway to either pedestrians or wheelchair users. Inside the cabinet electronic equipment provides the conversion from fibre optic to copper. Included within the cabinet is effectively a mini exchange providing the switching for the equipment and also a small cooling system. The cooling fans are rated at 40dB during daytime and 35dB at night time. The fans will only function during periods of hot weather and it has been assessed that the noise emitted from these fans is equivalent to a standard fridge
compressor at 0.5m distance.

The proposed OS LAM Cabinet installation forms a part of the government’s wider Digital Britain project The cabinet will provide Super Fast Broadband connectivity to the majority of the population boosting not only an individual’s use of the internet and thus the wider world but also boost the local economy and benefit a wide range of SMEs. 

The proposed cabinet provides the surrounding properties that are currently connected to the telephone system by the existing PCP cabinet with a connection to the fibre optic cable spine and in that process new fibre optic cabling is currently being installed throughout the country. Although the DSLAM cabinet specific to the location of the existing PCP and thus to the properties in the immediate area it is
considered that the new service will benefit the wider community as a whole. 

Every effort has been made to accommodate this important piece of telecommunications equipment in order that visual intrusion is minimised and the impact upon road users and pedestrians is reduced. It is considered that the siting of the cabinet has been made using the optimum location taking into consideration both Town Planning and Highways requirements.