The Basics

(sorry, there's a lot!)

  • The Notice published by Bristol City identifies that the application is for the temporary siting (18 months) of a mast in Redcatch Park, however, the Notice states ‘whilst a more permanent position within the park is investigated, for which a lease will be required by the operator’.  Intent appears to be that a position very nearby the park, will be the permanent solution.

  • The mast is being purported by Waldon, the applicant, as a replacement to the mast that used to sit in the garden of the former Friendship Pub on Axbridge Rd.  But because of the parameters of an emergency mast,  this mast is significantly taller and bigger and has to have a considerable infrastructure beneath it (14m x 8m x 2.5m compound containing a generator and fuel tank amongst other items of plant).

  • Redcatch Park is an accessible, public amenity enjoyed by many people daily. It is a relatively small park set within an area of South Bristol which is rapidly developing.  Many of the new developments will not have gardens. The proposed, adjacent Broad Walk development is planned to link directly with Redcatch Park for this very reason. 

  • The proposal is for a 24.16m tall mast, the base of which will be sited within an 8m x 14m compound.  The compound will be surrounded by concrete panels, faced with timber fencing, 2.5m high.  The mast will be sited in the park, behind the former Library building, not in the scrub area but on the grass, beyond the path, directly in front of the bench.  

  • The compound will contain several pieces of equipment, including a generator.  The operating hours of the generator are not yet confirmed but we understand them to be 2 hours+ per day and the noise emission at 7 metres is 62dB, seated or children playing around the compound will be signifcantly closer than 7 metres. The refuelling of the  fuel tank will be done via a 4x4 Toyota Hilux every 14-18 days.  

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The Mast is 24 Metres High
That's 5.6 Double Decker Buses

  • Health & Safety
    There is a serious potential health and safety issue regarding the siting of telecoms masts. There is much  scientific research (although the government and telecoms companies refute this), to support that these masts should not be sited in densely populated urban areas. Please see these links for more reading and make up your own mind about the potential health effects.

  • The 24.16m mast will totally dominate the setting, overpowering the impact of the beautiful trees.  The mast will be more than three times the height of many of the adjacent trees and will overshadowing the most adjacent buildings.  This large and inappropriate construction will present a very negative feature and impact significantly on the ambiance and visual amenity of the area.

  • Redcatch Community Garden, (RCG), which evolved to turn a derelict bowling green into an oasis within the high-density urban environment, provides solace for so many people.  It exists for, and provides many services to, the local community, including activities for children from local primary schools, a nursery as well as for adults and children with special needs, providing environmental learning in an outside setting that they would probably not get anywhere else.  It has a reputation for building trust with groups who find daily life difficult and, integral to the success of the services, is the ambiance provided by the garden setting and it being situated within a publicly accessible, non-threatening environment, our local park.  The mast may well prove to be an intolerable, overshadowing reminder of daily life to some of the people with the potential for trust to be lost.

Quote Mark
The average park in Great Britain serves just under 2,000 people, although some parks in densely populated areas cater for many more. 
Office for National Statistics

The Access Route

  • The access route proposed for the crane and service / construction vehicles, passes very close to the Community Garden and the only children’s play area.  It is assumed that the access and siting of the crane and delivery / construction of the equipment, compound and ultimate erection of the mast will render the park unsafe to access for the public for a number of days or weeks.  The distress and disruption this would cause, alongside the damage to the paths, grass areas and possibly vegetation would be devastating to such a small and treasured local amenity.  As the generator will need to be regularly fueled it is also assumed that tankers will take the same route on a frequent basis.   Waldon’s approach to Health and Safety of users of the Park during the construction and ongoing servicing beyond, has been requested.

Funding the garden

  • The Community Garden relies heavily on the income from its café to fund the (often free) services to the community, the café is the engine that drives the Garden. Without the revenue from the café, there is no Garden and there are no services to the community.  The income from the café is critical, day by day, to its existence.  Any disruption to this will devastate it. 

  • The proposed mast is to be erected in very open area of the Park. There will be no masking of it, not even partially in autumn and winter, once the leaves have fallen from the trees.  The scale of the mast is huge in contrast to everything surrounding it.

The Compound

  • The 8m x 14m compound is to be enclosed by a 2.5m concrete barrier, masked by a wooden fence. No landscape screening is proposed therefore this will purely be a stark block to the otherwise pleasant visual amenities of the setting.

  • The level of noise pollution from the generator is yet to be established but it is assumed that this will run 24/7.

  • Redcatch Park is small, by comparison, to a number of other Bristol public open spaces.  The proposed development within the park is completely disproportional to the size of the park and will dominate it to the detriment of all who use and live near to it.

Alternative sites

  • It is not clear why a proposal to site such a concerning structure within such a relatively small and treasured public space has been proposed when there are more obvious solutions close by:

    • We understand that the owner of the shopping centre has advised that they are open to discussions to site the mast on the shopping centre. With the proposed re-development of the shopping centre recommencing, from the beginning (not even a Planning Pre-Application has been made yet), the period before demolition is likely to exceed the ‘temporary’ period required by the proposer for the mast in the park.  Whilst a temporary location will be required once the shopping centre is at demolition stage, this will not be for a significant time and should give the proposer sufficient time to identify a permanent solution which does not involve defacing the park.

  • The reasoning given to the Council’s decision to refuse the Prior Application for the siting of a mast on Broad Walk (which was a smaller mast) is completely relevant to this current proposal to site it within the park. 

  • The Council’s defence that the operator has statutory powers to ‘temporarily’ site this type of equipment wherever they want, disregards the destruction of a precious, publicly owned amenity.

  • The Council has to grant a license to the operator for the land (‘to dispose’ of the land) to enable them access to it to build.  As publicly owned land,  we have the right to object to this disposal.The council are welcoming objection letters to assist it in its own struggle to prevent the mast being sited in the park.

If you too, feel passionately about losing a large part of your beloved park, then please add your voice to the objection.

Send a letter and sign the petition today.