Belfast Telegraph

Objections raised to countryside masts linking London and Frankfurt traders

Objections have been raised at plans to boost international high-frequency trading by building two huge communications masts rivalling the height of London's Shard in the countryside.

Two companies, New Line Networks (NLN) and Vigilant Global, are separately looking to gain planning permission for the masts close to each other in Richborough, Kent.

It is hoped they will help provide high-speed data links between financial centres in the UK and Europe.

The masts will reportedly allow traders to receive data faster between London and Frankfurt, cutting milliseconds from trading times between the two key financial hubs.

But objections have been received over proposals for the two masts - one at more than 1,000ft (322m) near Richborough Energy Park and the other at 1,000ft (305m) on land north of King's End Farm.

In its submission to Dover District Council's planning committee, Cliffsend Parish Council said the 322m mast would become a "visual eyesore", adding 80% of houses in the area would see it.

Other concerns were raised over its potential impact on the scheduled Roman site of Richborough and the Grade I-listed Richborough Castle.

And local archaeologists fear it could become the "prominent and defining feature in this view".

Ash Parish Council were among objectors to the 305m-tall mast, citing the impact on the local community, including from construction traffic and on nearby historic buildings.

NLN has said its proposal would serve the wireless needs of multiple parties with a single mast, supporting and boosting local community radio, satellite TV, mobile operators and emergency services.

Vigilant Global chose the site of the 322m mast because it is close to an industrial site, is geographically remote and has a history of tall structures due to the area's previous use as a power station.

It has said it wants the local community to benefit from the mast.

Proposals include a community trust funded annually by mast revenue, and setting up sponsorship and initiatives with schools and community groups.

Both masts are being recommended for refusal by Dover District Council's planning officers ahead of a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday.