Pine mast held incongruous among oaks

O2 UK Ltd has failed to secure permission for a phone mast designed to appear as a Scots pine tree in the High Weald area of outstanding natural beauty after an inspector decided that it appeared as an oddity in close views.

The mast incorporated a number of branches to disguise the functional nature of the installation. The inspector accepted that in some circumstances camouflage could be an effective technique in allowing a mast to be subsumed within a group of trees. But he judged that the mast would form an incongruous feature in an otherwise uniform row of oaks, since its branches would not have the appearance of a natural tree.

He held that the disguised mast would be eye-catching and would invite more scrutiny, as a result of which its artificial nature would become obvious. In the absence of a clear demonstration that no other sites were available, he concluded that the scheme would adversely affect the area's natural beauty.

DCS Number 100-051-322

Inspector John Roberts; Written representations.

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