The Headington area has sixteen mobile phone base stations, and Marston three. In 2010 the Vodafone and O2 mobile phone companies started to share existing masts, so some of the masts below now have two sets of antennae:
- Central Headington: One each at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Shell Select shop, and two on the telephone exchange behind
- Old Road area: One each at Rock Edge, Wood Farm, and the Ambulance Service Headquarters in Churchill Drive
- Quarry area: One each at Green Road and on Shotover Hill, and two in Risinghurst
- Northway: one at Westlands Drive
- Oxford Brookes University: four on its Gipsy Lane site
- Marston area: one in Marsh Lane, and two to the south-east of the Marston Ferry Road
Mobile phone mast at Rock Edge
photographed November 2010
Recent planning applications (2011/12)
Land at Barton Village Road
Erection of 15m high telecommunications pole and ancillary equipment (11/00874/T56): Prior approval required and siting & design unacceptable.
Land at North Way (Sherwood Place)
Erection of 15m high Jupiter 811E streetworks telecommunications pole and ancillary equipment (11/02856/T56). Prior approval required and siting & design acceptable.
Land at the corner Of Warren Crescent and Girdlestone Road
In December 2010 Vodafone Ltd / Telefonica O2 UK Ltd applied for “prior approval for installation of 12.5m high Hutchinson Jupiter 830 column and ancillary equipment enclosure” (10/03398/T56). Prior approval required and siting & design unacceptable.
Masts in existence
Headington Telephone Exchange
This building (hidden behind the petrol station on the London Road) has two phone masts.
In 2003 Hutchison 3G installed the first mast here to provide coverage from Old Headington to Old Road. This was one of the earliest firms to put up masts all over Oxford, and so a public meeting was held before planning permission was sought.
- Oxford Mail, 5 Mar 2003:
“Phone firm under fire over masts”
- Oxford Mail, 6 Mar 2003:
“Public buildings to get mobile masts”
The second mast came in 2008, when O2 Limited was granted planning permission (08/00702/FLT) for “Installation of telecommunications equipment comprising 3 × panel antennae, radio equipment housing and associated cabling” at Headington Telephone Exchange behind the petrol station at 43 London Road. (This was partly to replace a mast at Brookes University that was likely to be lost through redevelopment, although as of November 2010 Brookes still has four masts as before.)
In 2008 Vodafone was granted a “certificate of lawfulness for proposed development comprising the installation of a telecoms mast with antennas (11.5m overall height), and associated equipment cabinet” on the corner of Windmill Road and Rock Edge (08/01162/CPU): see the resulting mast, right.
In 2010 Vodafone Ltd / Telefonica O2 UK Ltd submitted application 10/02945/T56 “to determine whether prior approval is required for siting and appearance of 15m high telecommunications mast (replacing existing 12m high mast) and associated equipment”, and was told that no such permission is required. The new mast will support both the existing Vodafone antenna and an O2 one.
In May 2011 Vodafone submitted application for 11/01317/T56 “15m replacement telecommunication mast plus equipment cabinet” to the north of the current pole, and was told that prior approval was required.
MMO2Airwave UK Ltd put up a mast at the Ambulance Service Headquarters in Churchill Drive, and this is listed by the BBC as one of the “masts that mistakes allowed”, as the company exploited the loophole allowing masts to be approved if an operator is not sent an answer within a set time limit.
In 2004 they applied for “siting and appearance of additional 6 no. antenna on the existing mast and erection of equipment cabinets and ancillary equipment at the base of the mast” (04/01118/T56) and were told that prior approval was required.
An application by Vodafone for a mast in Marsh Lane (to be disguised as a 15m cypress tree) with ancillary equipment at ground level (05/02542/T56) was refused on the grounds that the siting and design were unacceptable, but Vodafone was granted planning permission after appealing against the decision to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.
Land West Of Kiln Lane, Eastern By-Pass Road
Hutchison 3G UK Ltd submitted application 03/00790/T56 for “prior approval of siting and appearance of 12.5 metre slimline monopole telecommunications mast and equipment cabinets”. The application was initially refused, but Hutchison won on appeal.
Erection of 11.7m high telecommunications monopole supporting 3 antennae within shroud at top of pole with associated equipment cabins at ground level (05/00648/T56). Prior approval required and siting & design acceptable.
St Michael and All Angels Church, Jack Straw’s Lane
In December 2010 Vodafone Ltd / Telefonica O2 UK Ltd underwent a permitted development check (10/03243/PDT) for “installation of 6 x antennae fixed around the face of the existing bell tower and associated equipment at ground level”, and was told that permission was not required. No mast has yet been erected.
Refused and withdrawn applications
Windmill Road/Old road junction
In 2007 Vodafone were refused a Certificate of Lawfulness for a ten-metre-high monopole with antennae to an overall height of 11.5 metres, plus radio equipment housing and ancillary development (telecommunications base station) beside the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (07/00467/CPU).
Bury Knowle Park
In 2007 T-Mobile submitted application 06/01485/FLT for “Installation of 10m high telegraph pole type and telecommunications mast” adjacent to Bury Knowle Park (near the health centre). Local councillors called the application in, and it was refused by the North-East Area Committee.
T-Mobile went to appeal and permission was granted by the Planning Inspector. In the event, however, they withdrew their plan in 2007, following the intervention of MP Andrew Smith and a 552-signature petition.
- Oxford Mail, 6 December 2007: “People celebrate mast victory”
- Oxford Mail, 8 October 2007: “School and residents fight phone mast”
Opposite 315 Marston Road
In 2005 Vodafone Ltd submitted application 05/01790/T56 for “Erection of 11.4 metre high telecommunications mast supporting 3 antennae with associated ground level equipment”. The application was refused, and Vodafone went to appeal, but also lost the appeal.
Land near St Michael and All Angels Church, Jack Straw’s Lane
In 2007 Vodafone was refused permission by the North-East Area Committee for a 33ft mast disguised as a telegraph pole in Jack Straw’s Lane near St Michael and All Angels Church (07/00021/T56). Vodafone does not appear to have appealed against this decision, despite Vodafone’s original intention.
- Oxford Mail, 29 March 2007: “Mobile mast bid refusal sparks appeal”
Land forming site fronting Shopping Area, Cherwell Drive
In February 2006 T Mobile (UK) Ltd sought prior approval for “the siting and appearance of a 10m high telegraph pole type communications mast and ancillary equipment cabinets at ground level” (06/00291/T56). The site was deemed unsuitable and T-Mobile went to appeal and lost.
Sunday Times, 23 April 2007: “Cancer clusters at phone masts”