Following enquiries from residents about he potential for a 4G mobile comms mast to service the Limpsfield Chart area, we have made various enquiries in a bid to see if there is something we can do to help the situation.

As you will know while there is a Shared Rural Network body, the installation of mobile masts and 4G improvements is driven by the networks / comms companies.

The Shared Rural Network: 

The programme is being driven by The Shared Rural Network – the body driving the improvements to rural areas – a body made up of all the main providers – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone –, launched in 2020 .

According to their timeline, they have a deadline of 2027 for all public and industry funded rural mobile network improvements to have been made with 95% of the country covered by 4G. 

We recently sent an email to SRN to see how the process works and how we find out if we are a “ total non-spot” area or “partial non-spot” to see where we are on the programme timeline.

Unfortunately their response was lacking in much clarification or further insight.

Requirements & Site Criteria for new masts:

This article from Vodafone is quite good in demonstrating the trickiness of finding a suitable site:

With regards for the need for two masts to replace the one that will be decommissioned at the quarry at Broomlands, this info from Waldon Telecom:

The two sites are required in order to replace the coverage and network capacity lost as a result of the decommissioning of the site at the nearby Quarry. No single solution has been identified that is capable of achieving this alone. There is some detail on this within the Supplementary Information document submitted with the application and a set of coverage plots was submitted for each operator that shows the geographical reach of the coverage from each site and how they would operate in relation to one another as well as other linked sites in the wider network. It may be useful for the council to refer to these to get a better understanding of the network requirements and also the various issues and constraints that have to be worked around when trying to fulfil them. This should all be available to view online but I’m attaching the three documents for ease of reference. I hope this helps.” Juliet Baller.

Waldon Telecom is the contractor driving the search for masts in this particular area and works with all the providers, although recent specific applications have been for Three and EE.

Two of the applications were turned down due to their locations being unsuitable in relation to green belt and AONB. A third application was approved at Moorhouse lay-by on the A25, and a temporary mast installed, but then removed due to its prominent and highly visible location. Ideally another site needs to be found, although Waldon is looking at ways to improve signals from other nearby masts to compensate.

Waldon Telecom was instructed by MBNL specifically to find solutions to the network impact of losing operational apparatus from the nearby Moorhouse Sandpits quarry site. This was the extent of their instruction. Neither Waldon nor our client MBNL are instructed on the Shared Rural Network.

Their advice was to contact the mobile operators directly for discussions on the wider area issues, but this has so far been unsuccessful. There are a number of links on the SRN website