(Is this the right place? It isn't about a Wireless ISP specifically, but about Wireless Broadband in general.)
The Airwave project at West Witton, one of BDUK's "final 5%" pilot projects, just got planning approval from the Yorkshire Dales Planning Authority.
Since the planning applications went in, Airwave agreed that two of the sites can go ahead with just temporary approval - the central one located behind the pub, and the wooden one in the sports field. The other two sites, including the main hub at a farm overlooking the village, were approved without a problem; both of these were helped by the fact that trees behind the mast, higher up the slopes, helped mask any visual problems.
The temporary approval allowed for two years - specifically to give people a chance to understand the visual impact of the poles across the changing seasons.
There were perhaps 15 local residents in attendance, plus some councillors, plus some Airwave representatives. I'd say they left happy.
My gut feel is that the public were extremely positive towards the scheme - there had been a recent meeting with Airwave, where more than 50 people attended (not bad for a scheme with 150 properties), without one objection.
The councillors were also extremely positive. One commented that he'd never seen a scheme get such a level of support from public and organisations.
One also mentioned that the plan should be for everyone, and rejection of the site that is needed for 7 homes would seem like a trivial affair but would be devastating for those homes.
The planning committee members were barely less enthusiastic. Individually, they mostly commended approval, while the member who (I think) is also the chair of the authority as a whole stated that the scheme matched policy to bring superfast broadband to the major settlements - and that "the benefits here clearly take precedence".
There was one dissenting voice, but it wasn't *very* dissenting (I suspect he would have had a stronger objection if the two temporary applications had remained permanent).
He made a partial point that the applications didn't show that other solutions weren't viable; I guess people more au-fait with the national rollout of superfast are more aware of the strained economics for the 5%, and aren't used to it being questions - it took a few glances around before other members pointed at the economic viability text.
His other point was about the siting of the mast close to the grade 2-listed pub. I don't think he wanted it to become a precedent. But he really knew he was a lone voice on these issues, so didn't make a big song and dance.
Surprisingly there was no specific point made about the height of any of the masts. Perhaps it was because a lot of work has been done since September to optimise the plan, and reduce initial height. Perhaps it is because the applications for the taller masts became temporary.
Discussion of the first site (the main hub at the farm) took a while, starting with a brief overview by the planning officer, and continuing as everyone made their statements and positions. It ended with one abstention, and the rest voting for.
Discussions for the second site (the pub) proceeded in the same way, but with shorter discussion focussed just on this one site. The vote went the same way; a fair number of members commented that they would have voted the same way even if it was for permanent approval.
Having dealt with these two, someone proposed that the last two sites needed no extra overview or discussion, which was quickly agreed, so they went straight to vote. The vote went the same way.
I was pleasantly surprised that everyone behaved as though, if there was one thing that the communities, the people, desperately needed planners to accept, it was this. They're aware there is a lot riding on this kind of trial. However, talking to one councillor afterwards, it seems that things didn't seem so rosy even Thursday of last week!
I got the impression that Airwave were pleasantly surprised at the reception by the public. I hope they give them a network that can handle their demands.